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ANDOVER-HARVARD THEOLOQICAL LIIRARY 

M o C C c cx 

CAMIRIDQE. MASSACHUSETTS 



r 



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THE 



WORKS 



DR. JOHN TILLOTSON, 



ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY. 



WITH THE LIFE OF THE AUTHOR, 

BY 

THO*. BIRCH, M. A. 

ALSO, 

A COPIOUS INDEX. AND THE TEXTS OF SORIPTURK 
CAREFULLY COMPARED. 



IN TEN VOLUMES— VOL. VIL 



LONDON : 

miirrxD bt i. f. dove, st. jouk*s squarb; 
FOR RICHARD PRIESTLEY. HIGH HOLBORN. 

1820. 



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D.7 



CONTENTS TO VOL. VII. 



SERMONS. 

CXLIV. CXLV. CXLVI.— The Goodoess of God 1. 17. 36 

CXLVIL— The Mercy of God 51 

CXLVIILCXLIX.— ThePatienceofGod - - - 75.91 
CL. CLI.— The Long-sufferiog of God .... 106. 134 

CLIL— The Power of God 150 

CLIII.— The Spirituality of the Divine Nature - - - 171 
CLIV.— The ImmeDsity of the Divine Nature - - - - 188 

CLV.— The Eternity of God ^ - 201 

CLVI. — ^The Incomprehensibleness of God - - - ^212 
CLVII.— God the first Cause, and last End - - - 226 
CLVIIL— The Necessity of Repentance and Faith - - 241 
CLIX.— Of confessing and forsaking Sin, in order to 

Pardon --.-------. 253 

CLX. — Of Confession and Sorrow for Sin - - - -281 

CLXI. — The Unprofitableness of Sin in Ais Life, an 

Argument for Repentance ..... 299 

CLXII. CLXIIL CLXIV. CLXV.— The Shamefiilness 
of Sin, an Argument for Repentance, &c. 

320.338.352.371 
CLXV:i. CJLXVn. CLXVIII.—The Nature and Ne- 
cessity of Holy Resolution - - 398. 414. 431 
CLXIX. CLXX^T— The Nature and Necessity of Resti- 
tution 447.465 



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IV 

CLXXI. — ^The Usefulness of Consideration, in order to 

Repentance -•.--...-- 486 

CLXXIl. — ^The Danger of Impenitence where the Gos- 
pel is preached -w. ...... 503 

CLXXIII. CLXXIV. CLXXV.— Of the Immortality 
of the Souly as discovered by Nature and by 
Revelation 520.541.563 



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8 E R M O N S. 



SERMON CXLIV. 

THE GOODNESS OF -GOD. 

The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are 
over all his works. — Psal. cxlv. 9. 

In the handling of this argument, I proposed to do 
these four things : 

First, To consider what is the proper notion of 
goodness, as it is attributed to God. 

Secondly, To shew that this perfection belongs 
to God, 

Thirdly, To consider the effects of the Divine 
goodness, together with the large extent of it, in re- 
spect of its objects. And, 

Fourthly, To answer some objections which may 
seem to contradict, and bring in question* the good- 
ness of God. 

I have considered the two first ; and io speaking 
to the third, I proposed the considering these two 
things : 

I. The univer&fal extent of God's goodness to all 
his creatures. 

II.. More especially the goodness of God to mau, 

VOL. VII. B 



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which we are more especially concemed to take 
notice of, and be affected with. 
The first of these appears in these four particulars : 

1. Id his giving being to so many creatures. 

2. In making them all so very good; considering 
the number and variety, the rank and order, the 
end and design of all of them. 

3. In bis continual preservation of them. 

4. In his providing so abundantly for the welfare 
and happiness of all of them, so far as they are ca- 
pable and sensible of it. 

The first of these I spoke largely to; I proceed to 
shew, in the 

2. Second place. That the universal goodness of 
God appears in making all these creatures so very 
good, considering the number and variety, the rank 
and order, the end and design of all of them. His 
goodness excited and set a-work his power to make 
this world, and all the creatures in it; and, that they 
tnight be made in the best manner that could be, his 
wisdom directed his power; he dath made all things 
hi number, weight, and measure; so that they are 
admirably fitted and proportioned to one another : 
and that there is an excellent contnvdncein all sorts 
of beings, and a wonderful beauty and harmony in 
the whole frame of things, is, I think, sufficiently 
visible to every discerning and unprejudiced mind. 
The lowest form of creatures, I mean those which 
are destitute of sense, do all of them contribute, 
some way or other, tdtbe use, and convenfency, and 
Comfort, of the crealdres above them, wliich beirtg 
endowed with sense, are capable of ehjoying the 
benefit and deKgbt of them, which being so palpable 
in the greatest part of them, may reasonably be pre* 
«umed, though it be not sO discernible, concerning 



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•H4be fatt ; m thai ^heo me aurrey the whole < 
tion of God, and the^aeieral paris, we may welt icry 
^mt with D».vid, (PmL jaiv.^4.) '' O Lord, howiaa* 
nifoid aite tby .works 1 io wisdoni faa^t tbou made 
Ibem ail." 

It is ftrue, iudeed, there wre degrees of perfectioo 
10 the creature, aad God is Dot equally good io all 
of tbtio. Xhone creatures wbidi are of more nohi» 
and excelleftt natares, and to which he hatli com<- 
mtmicated more degrees of periiectioo, they |>artalot 
viore of hie goodaess, afid are more glorious in^ 
stances of it; but every creature partakes of the Dih 
vioe goodaess in a certain degree, and according to 
the natara and capacity of it. God, if he pleased; 
coald have made nothing but immortal spirits; and 
he could have made as many of these as there are 
individual cneatures of all sorts in the world; but it 
aeemed good to the wise Architect, to make several 
faaks and orders of beings, and to display his power^ 
and goodness, and wisdom^ in all imaginable variety 
of creatures, all of which should be good in their 
kind, though far short of the perfection of angels 
and immortal spirits. 

He that will build a house for all the asea and 
purposes of which a house is capable, eannot make 
it all foundation, and great beams and pillars; must 
not so contrive it^ as to make it all rooms of state 
and entertainment; but there must of necessity be 
in it meaner materials, rooms and offices for several 
use? and purposes, which, however inferior to the 
rest in dignity and degree, do yet contribute to the 
beauty and advantage of the whole t so, in this great 
frame of the world, it was fit there should be variety 
and different degrees of perfection in the several 
parte of it; and this is so &r from being an impeacli^ 

b2 



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4 

ment of the wisdom or goodness of Him that made 
it, that it is an evidence of both: for the meanest of 
all God's creatures is good, considering the nature 
and rank of it, and the end to which it was designed ; 
and we cannot imagine how it could have been 
ordered and framed better, though we can easily 
tell how it might have been worse, and that if this 
or that had been wanting, or had been otherwise, it 
bad not been so good; and those who have been 
most conversant in the cont^nplation of nature, and 
of the works of God, have been most reedy to make 
this acknowledgment. 

But then, if we consider the creatures of God with 
relation to one another, and with regard to the 
whole frame of things, they will all appear to be very 
good; aud notwithstanding this or that kind of 
creatures be much less perfect than another, and 
there be a very great distance between the perfec- 
tion of a worm, and of an angel ; yet, considering 
every thing in the rank and order which it hath in 
the creation, it is as good as coold be, considering 
its nature and use, and the place allotted to it 
among the creatures* 

And this difference in the works of God, between 
the goodness of the several parts of the creation, and 
the excellent and perfect goodness of the whole, the 
Scripture is very careful to express to us in the 
history of the creation, where you find God repre- 
sented, as first looking upon and considering every 
day's work by itself, and approving it, and pro- 
nouncing it to be good; (Gren. i. 4, 10. 12. 18. 21. 2&.) 
at the end of every day'a work it is said, that ''God 
saw it, and it was good : " but then, when all was 
finished, and he surveyed the whole together, it is 
said, (ver. 31») that ^' God saw every thipg that he 



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iiad made^ and behold^ it was very good:" " very 
good/' that is, the best; the Hebrews having no other 
saperlative. Every creature of God, by itself, is 
good; but take the whole together, and they are 
« very good," the best that could be. 

3. The universal goodness of God further appears 
in the careful and continual preservation of the 
things which he hath made; his upholding and 
maintaining the several creatures in being, in their 
natural state and order; those which have life, in 
life, to the period which he hath determined and 
appointed for them; in his preserving the whole 
world, his managing and governing this vast frame 
of things in such sort, as to keep it from running 
into confusion and disorder. This is a clear demon- 
stration, no less of the goodness than of the wisdom 
and power of God^ that for so many ages all the 
parts of it have kept their places, and performed the 
offices and work for which nature designed them; 
and that the world is not, in the course of so many 
thousand years, grown old and weak, and out of re^ 
pair, and that the frame of things doth not dissolve 
and fall in pieces. 

And the goodness of God doth not only take care 
of the main, and support the whole frame of things, 
and preserve the more noble and considerable crea- 
tures, but even the least and meanest of them. The 
providence of God doth not overlook any thing that 
he hath made, nor despise any of the works of his 
hands, so as to let them relapse, and fall back into 
nothing, through neglect and inadvertency; as many 
ae there are, he takes care of them all, (Psa). civ. 
27,28.) where the Psalmist, speaking <of the innu- 
merable multitude of creatures upon the earth and 
in the sea,,^' These (saith he) wait all upon thee, 



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that thou maye^t give ttiem tbeirmeat in due sesisoii; 
that thou givest tbero, they gather; thou opene^t 
thine hand, and they are filled with good."* And to 
the same purpose, (PsaK cxlv- 16, 10.) " The ^y^ 
of all wait upoo thee, and thou givest them their 
meat in due season; thou openest thine hand, and 
^atisfiest the desire of every living thing." The in-^ 
animate creatures, which are witliqut sense, and the 
brute creatures, which, though they have sense, ar^ 
without understanding, and so c^n have no end and 
design of self-preservation, God preserves them, no 
less than men, who are endowed with reason and 
foresight to provide for themselves : (Psal. xxxvi. ^.) 
'* Thou preservefiit man and beast." And, (Ps. exlvii. 
8.) ** He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young 
ravens which cry." And so our Saviour declares to 
QS the particular providence of God towards those 
' creatures: (Matt. vi. 26.) '' Behold the fowls of the 
air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor 
gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedetb 
them.'* (Ver. 28, 29.) " Consider the lilies of the 
field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they 
spin : and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in 
all bis glory was not Arrayed like one of these." 

And though all the creatures below man, being 
without understanding, can take no notice of this 
bounty of God to them, nor make any acknowledg- 
ments to him for it ; yet man, who is the priest of 
the visible creation, and placed here in this great 
teniple of the world, to ofler up sacrifices of praise 
find thanksgiving to God, for his universal goodness 
to all his creatures, ought to bless God in their b^- 
balf) and to sing praises to him in the name of all 
th^ inferior creatures, which are subjected to hit 
dorainioi^and uae; because they ace all, arit w£ve» 



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his fitmily, bis servanto and utenaili ; ittid if QoA 
gbould neglect any of them, and suffer them t0 
perish and miscarry, it is we that 8bop)d find the 
inconvenience and want of them; and therefore we 
ahould on their behalf celebrate the praises of God; 
eis we find David often does in the Psalms, calling 
upon the inanimate and the brute creatures to praise 
Hie Lord. 

4. The universal goodness of God doth yet fur* 
ther appear, in providing so abundantly for the wel* 
fare and happiness of all his creatures, so far as they 
are capable and sensible of it. He doth not only 
support and preserve his creatures in beit^, but 
takes care that they should all enjoy that happiness 
and pleasure which their natnres are capable of. 
The creatures endowed with sense and reasott, 
which only are capable of pleasure and happiness^ 
God hath taken care to satisfy the several appetites 
and inclinations which he hath planted in them ; 
and according as nature hath entarf2:ed their desiretf 
and capacities, so he enlargeth hi« bounty towards 
them ; *^ he openeth his hand, and satjsfieth the de-^ 
sire of every living thing.** God doth not immediately 
bring meat to the creatures when they are hungry ; 
but it is near to them, commonly in the elements 
wherein they are bred, or within their reach, and be 
hath planted inclinations in them to hunt alter it, 
and to )ead and direct them to it, and to encodragtf 
seff-'preservation, and to oblige and instigate them 
t& it ; and that they might not be melanehofy add 
wedfy of life, he hath so ordered the nature of 
living creatures, that hunger and thirst are mostinfi- 
placiabl^ desires, exceeding painful, and even in- 
tolerable; and likewise, that the satisfaction of thesef 
appdtites should be a mighty pleasure to them. Add 



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8 

for those creatures that are youDg, and not able to 
provide for tbemselyes, God bath planted in all crea* 
tures acrropyii, a natural affection towards their yoUng 
ones, which will effectually put them upon seeking 
provisions for them^ and cherishing them^.with thai; 
care and tenderness which their weak and helpless 
€<Hiditton doth require : and reason is not more 
powerful and effectual in mankind to this purpose, 
than this natural instinct is in brute creatures ; 
which shews what care God hath taken, and what 
provision he hath made, in the natural frame of all 
his creatures, for the satisfaction of the inclinations 
HUd appetites which he hath planted in them ; the 
«atis£&ction whereof is their pleasure and happiness. 
And thus I have done with the first head I proposed, 
the universal extent of God's goodness to his crea- 
tures : let us now proceed, in the 

II. Second place. To consider more particularly 
the goodness of Go^ to men ; which w$ are morees^ 
pecially concerned to take notice of, and to be af-^ 
fected with it. And we need go no farther than our 
own observation and experience, to prove the good-, 
ness of God ; every day of our lives we see and 
taste that the Lord is good ; all that we are, and; 
all the good that we enjoy, and ail that we expect 
and hope for, is from the Divine goodness : *^ every 
good and every perfect gift is from above, and Com- 
eth down from th^ Father of lights," (Jam. i. 17.); 
And the best and most perfect of his giftjs he bestows 
on the sons of men. What is said of the wisdom of 
God, (Prov. viii.) may be applied to his goodness^ 
the goodness of God shines forth in all the works of 
the creation, in the heavens and clouds above, and 
in the fountains of the great deep, in the earth and 
the fields, but its delight is with the sons of m^n. 



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StichTifl the goodnees of God to inAci» that it isre- 
presented to ws in Scripture under the notion of 
love : God Is good to all his creatures, but he is 
^u\y said to loVe the sons of men. More particu- 
larly the goodness of God to man appears, 

1 . That he hath given us such noble and excellent 
beings, and placed us in so high a rank and order 
of his creatures. We owe to him that we are, and 
what we are : we do not only partake of that eflect 
of his goodness which is common to us with all 
other creatures, that we have received our being 
from him ; but we are peculiarly obliged to him for 
bis more especial goodness, thut he hath made us 
reasonable creatures of that kind which we should 
have chosen to have been of, if we could suppose 
that, before we were, it had been referred to U6,'^and 
put to our choice, what part we would be of this 
visible world. But we did not contrive and choose 
this coudition for ourselves, we are no ways acces- 
sary to the dignity and exciellency of our beings : 
but God chose this condition for us, and made us 
what we are; so that ^e may say with David, 
(Psal. c. 3 — 5.) "It is he that hath made us, and 
dot we ourselves. O enter into his gates with thanks- 
giving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful 
unto him, and speak good of his name : for the Lord 
is good."" Tiie goodness of God is the spring and 
fountain of our beings ; but for that, we had been 
nothing ; and but for bis farthergoodness, we might 
}iave been any things of the lowest and meanest rank 
of his creatures. But the goodness of God hath 
been pleased to advance us to be the top and per- 
fection of the visible creation ; he Ivtth been pleaaed 
to endow us with mind and undervtanding, and 
made us capable of happiness, in the knowledge, 

roiM vii. c 



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10 

and love, and eDJ^yment of himself. He hath cnii- 
ously and wonderfully wrought the frame of our 
bodies, so as to make them fit habitations for rea- 
sonable souls, and immortal spirits ; he hath made 
our very bodies vessels of honour, when of the very 
same clay he bath made innumerable other crea- 
tures of a much lower rank and condition : so that 
though man, in respect of his body, be akin to the 
earth, yet, in regard of his soul, he is allied to Hea-r 
yen, of a Divine original, and descended from above* 
Of all the creatures in this visible world, man is the 
chief; and what is said of behemoth, or the ele- 
phant, (Job xl.) in respect of his great strength, 
and the vast bigness of bis body, is only true abso- 
lutely pf man, ^hat he is, Divini opificii caput ; ** the 
chief of the ways of God, and upon earth there is 
lyone ijke him/' 

The Psalmist takes particular notice of the good- 
ness of God to man, in this respect of the excel- 
lency and dignity of his being; (Psal. viii. 5.) ** Thou 
hast made him a little lower than the angels, and 
hast crowned hjm with glory and honour." And this 
advantage pf our nature above other creatures we 
ought tb^nkfqlly to acknowledge, though piost men 
are so stupid as to overlook it ; as Elihu copiplains, 
(Job XXXV. 10, 11.) " None saith. Where is God my 
Maker, who teacheth us more than the beasts of the 
earth, and makethus wiser than the fowls of heaven?'' 

2. The goodness of God to man appears, in that 
he hath made and ordained so many things chiefly 
for our use. The beauty and usefulness of the 
creatures below us, their plaiq sqbserviency to our 
necessity, and benefit, aqd delight, are so many clear 
evidences of the Divine goodness to us, not only 
discernible to our reason, but even palpable to Qui^ 



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11 

senses, so that we may ^* see and taste that the Lord 
is gracious/' 

This David particularly insists upon as a special 
ground of praise and thanksgiving to God, that he 
hath subjected so great a part of the creation to our 
dominion and use: (Psal. viiL 6 — 8.) speaking of 
man, '* Thou hast made him to have dominion over 
the works of thy hands ; thou hast put all things 
under his feet : all sheep and oxen, yea, and the 
beasts of the field : the fowl of the air, and the£sh 
of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the 
paths of the seas/' What an innumerable variety of 
creatures are therein this inferior world, which were 
either solely or principally made for the use and ser- 
vice, pleasure and delight, of man I How many things 
are there, which serve for the necessity and support, 
for the contentment and comfort, of our lives ! How 
many things for the refreshment and delight of our 
senses, and the exercise and employment of our 
understandings ! That God hath not made man for 
the service of other creatures, but other creatures 
for the service of man, Epictetus doth very ingeni- 
ously argue from this*' observation ; tliat the crea- 
tures bdow men, the brute beasts, have all things 
in a readiness, nature having provided for them 
meat, and drink, and lodging ;' so that they have no 
absolute need that any should build houses^ or 
make clothes, or store up proviision, or prepare and 
. dress meat for them : *' For, {says he,) being made 
fbr the service of another, they ought to be furnished 
with these things, that they may be always in a rea- 
diness to serve their lord and master ; a plain evi- 
dence that they were made to serve man, and not 
man to serve them." 

Awd to raise our thoughts of God's goodness lo 



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IS 

us the 8008 of men yet higher, as he hath given ub 
the creatures below us for our use and convenience, 
80 hath he appointed the creatures above us for 
our guard and protection, not to say for our service : 
(Psal. xxxiv. ?•) " The angel of the Lord encampeth 
round about thena that fear him, and delivereth 
them ;" and then it follows, ^* O taste and see that 
the Lord is good!" And, (Psal. xci. 11, 12.) " He 
shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee 
in all thy ways : they shall bear thee up in their 
bands/' Nay, the apostle speaks as if their whole 
business and employment were to attend upon, and 
be serviceable to, good men; (Heb. i. 14.) " Are 
they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister 
for them who shall be heiri^ of salvation?" 

The goodness of God to men appears in his tender 
love, and peculiar care of us above the rest of the 
creatures, being ready to impart, and dispense to 
us the good that is suitable to our capacity and 
condition, and concerned to exempt us from those 
manifold evils of want and pain, to which we are 
obnoxious : I do not mean an absolute exemption 
from all sorts and degrees of evil, and a perpetual 
tenure of temporal happiness, and enjoyment of all 
good things ; this is not suitable to our present state, 
and the rank and order which we are in among the 
creatures ; nor would it be best for us, all things 
considered. But the goodness of God to us above 
other creatures, is proportionable to the dignity and 
excellency of our natures above them ; for, as the 
apostle reasons in another case, ^* Doth God take 
care for oxen," and shall he not much more extend 
hii care to man ? To this purpose our Saviour rear 
sons : (Matt. vi. 26.) " Behold the fowls of the air; 
frr they sow not, neither do they reap, iior gather 



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15 

into barns ; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. 
Are ye not much better than they ?'* And, (yet. 30.) 
^* Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, 
which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, 
shall he not much more clothe you ?" And, (chap. x. 
20 — 31.) "Are not two sparrows sold for a far- 
thing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground 
without your Father. But the very hairs of your 
head are all numbered. Fear ye not, therefore, ye 
are ot more value than many sparrows.** It is true, 
God hath a special care of his people and servants, 
above the rest of mankind ; but our Saviour useth 
these arguments to his disciples, to convince them 
of the providence of God towards them, as men, and 
of a more excellent nature than other creatures. 

. And, indeed, we are born into the world more des- 
titute and helpless than other creatures ; as if it 
were on purpose to shew that God had reserved us 
for his more peculiar' care and providence ; which 
is so great, that the Scripture, by way of conde- 
scension, expresseth it to us by the name of love ; 
so that what effects of care the greatest and tender- 
est affection in men is apt to produce towards one 
another, that, and much more, is the effect of God's 
goodness to us; and this affection of God is common 
to all men (though, of all creatures; we have least 
deserved it), and is ready to diffuse and shed abroad 
itself, wherever men are qualified for it by duty and 
obedience, and do not obstruct and stop the emana- 
tions of it, by their sins and provocations. 

And though the greatest part of mankind be evil, 
yet this doth not wholly pat a stop to his goodness, 
though it cause many abatements of it, and hinder 
many good things from us ; but such is the good- 
ness of God, notwithstanding the evil and undutiful- 



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14 ^ 

ness of men, that be is pleased still to concerQ hiio- 
self in the government of the world, and to preserve 
the societies of men from running into utter con- 
fusion and diisorder ; notwithstanding the violence 
and irregularities of men's wills and passions, the 
communities of men subsist upon tolerable terms; 
and notwithstanding the rage and craft of evil meq, 
poor and unarmed innocence and virtue is usually 
protected, and sometimes rewarded in this world, 
and domineering and outrageous wickedness is very 
often remarkably checked and chastised. All which 
instances of God's^ providence, as they are greatly 
for the advantage and comfort of mankind, so are 
they an effectual declaration of that goodness which 
governs all things,, and of God's kind care of the 
affairs and concernments of men ; so that if we look 
DO further than this world, we may say with David, 
** Verily, there is a reward for the righteous, verily 
there is a God that judgeth the earth." 

I know this argument hath been perverted to a 
quite contrary purpose: that if goodness governed 
the worlds and administered the affairs of it, good 
and evil would not he so carelessly and promis- 
cuously dispensed ; good men would not be so great 
sufferers, nor wicked men so prosperous, as many 
times they are. 

But this also, if rightly considered, is an effect 
of God's goodness, and infinite patience to mankind^ 
that ^* he causeth his sun to rise, and his rain to fall 
upon the just and unjust ;" that, upon the provoca- 
tions of men, he does not give over his care of them, 
and throw all things into confusion and ruin: this 
plainly shews, that he designs this life for the trial 
of men's virtue and obedience, in order to the greater 
reward of it; and therefore " he suffers men to walk 



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15 

fn their owri ^ays," without any great ch^ck anct 
control, and reserves the main bulk ot rewards and 
punishments for another world : so that all this is 
so far from being any objection against the goodness 
of God, that, on the contrary, it is an argument of 
God's imitiense goodness, and infinite patience, that 
the world subsists and continues^ and that he per^ 
mits men to take their course, for the fuller trial of 
them, and the clearer and niiore effectual declaration 
of his justice, in the rewards and punishments of 
another life. 

Fourthly, and lastly. The goodness of Gdd to man- 
kind most gloriously appears', in the provision he 
hath made for our eternal happiness. What the hap- 
piness of man should have been, had he continued 
in inuocency, is not particularly revealed to us; but 
this is certain, that by wilful transgressions we have 
forfeited all that happiness which our natures are 
capable of. In this lapsed and ruinous condition 
of mankind, the goodness and mercy of God was 
pleasedT to employ his wisdom for our recovery, and 
to restore us not only to anew but a greater capacity 
of glory and happiness. And in order to this, the 
Son of God assumes our nature for the recovery and 
redemption of man; and the pardon of sin is pur- 
chased for us by his blood; eternal life, and the way 
to it, are clearly discovered to us. God is pleased 
to enter into a new and better covenant with us, and 
to afford us inward grace and assistance, to enable 
us to perform the conditions of it; and graciously 
to accept of our faith and repentance, of our sincere 
resolutions and endeavours of holiness and obedi- 
ence, for perfect and complete righteousness, for Hit 
sake who fulfilled all righteousness. 

This is the great and amazing goodness of God 



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16 

to mankinds that, yfhen we were in open rebellion 
against bim^ be sbould entertain thoughts of peace 
and reconciliation ; and when he passed by the fallen 
angels, be should set his affection and love upon the 
f infu) and miserable sona of men. And *^ hereii} is 
the love of God to men perfected/'^ that, as he bath 
made all creatnres, both above us, and below us, 
subservient and instrumental to our subsistence and 
preservation ; so^ for the ransom of our souls from 
eternal ruin and misery, ** he hath not spared his 
own Son, but hath given him up to death for us ;'* 
bim, whom *^ he hath commanded all the angels of 
God to worship," and to whom he hath made sub« 
ject all creatures in heaven and earth : him, '' who 
made the world, and who upholds all things by the 
word of his power, who is the brightness of his glory, 
and the express image of his person." 

And after such ^ stupendous instance as this, what 
may we not reasonably hope for, and promise our^ 
selves, from the Divine goodness? So the apostle 
hath taught us to reason ; (Rom. viii.32.) ^* He that 
spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us 
all, how shall he not with him also freely give us 
all things?" 



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SERMON CXLV. 

THE GOODNESS OF GOD. 

The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are 
over all his trorA?^.— Psalm cxlv. 9i 

In handling this argnment, I proceeded in this 
method ; 

First, To consider what is the proper notion of 
goodness. 

Secondly, To shew that this perfection of good- 
ness belongs to God. 

Thirdly, I considered the effects of the Divine 
goodness, under these heads : 

1. The universal extent of it, in the number, variety, 
order, end, and design of the things created by him, 
and his preservation, and providing for the welfare 
and happiness of them. 

II. I considered more particularly the goodness 
of God to mankind, of which I gave these four in- 
stances : 

]• That he hath given us such noble beings, and 
placed us in so high a rank and order of his crea- 
tures. 

2. In that he hath made and ordained so many 
things chiefly for us. 

3. In that he exerciseth so peculiar a providence 
over us above the rest, that though he is said to 
be ** good to all,'* he is only said to *' love the sons 
of men*'' 

4. In thait he hath provided for us eternal life and 
happiness. There only now remains the 



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18 

f^ourtli and last particular to be spoken to, which 
was, To answer some objections which may seem 
to contradict and bring in question the goodness of 
God ; and they are many, and have (some of them 
especially) great difficulty in them, and therefore it 
will require great consideration and care, to give a 
clear and satisfactory answer to them, which, un- 
doubtedly, they are capable of; the goodness of God 
being one of the most certain and unquestionable 
truths in the world. I shall mention those which 
are most considerable and obvious, and do almost 
of themselves spring up in every man's mind ; and 
they are these four : the first of them more genera?, 
the other three more particular. 

First, If God be so exceeding good, whence 
comes it to pass, that there is so much evil in the 
world of several kinds; evil of imperfection, evil of 
affliction or suffering, and (which is the greatest of 
all others, and indeed the cause of them) evil of sin ? 

Secondly,. The doctrine of absolute reprobation ; 
by which is meant, the decreeing of the greatest 
part of mankind to eternal misery and torment, 
without any consideration or respect to their sin or 
fault : this seems notoriously to contradict, not only 
the notion of infinite goodness, but any competent 
measure and degree of goodness. 

Thirdly, The eternal misery and punishment of 
men for temporal faulta seems hard to be reconciled 
with that excess of goodness which we suppose to 
be in God. 

Fourthly, The instances of God's great severity 
to mankind upon occasion in those great calamities 
which, by the providence of God, have, in several 
ages, either befallen mankind in general, or particur 
lar nations; and here I shall confine myseK to 



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19 

Scriptare tn8tanc«t as being the mo8t certain and 
remarkable, or at least equal to any that are to be 
met with in history ; as, the early and uniTersal de-* 
geoeracy of mankind, by the sin and transgression 
of our first parents ; the destruction of the world 
by a general deluge ; the sudden and terrible de- 
struction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the citie» 
abont them, by fire and brimstone from heaven ; 
the eruel extirpation of the Canaanites, by the ex- 
press command of. God ; and lastly,* the great ca- 
lamities which befcl the Jewish nation, and the 
final ruin and perdition of them at the destruction 
of Jerusalem. 

These are the objections against the gck)dne8s of 
Cod, which I shall severally consider, and, with all 
the brevity and clearness I can, endeavour to return 
a particular answer to them. 

The first objection, which I told you is more ge- 
neral, is this : If God be so exceeding good, whence 
then comes it to pass, that there is so much evil in 
the world of several kinds ? It is evident, beyond 
denial, that evil abounds in the world : '* The whole 
world lies in evil,'' says St. John, cv r^ irovnpo /csirar, 
** lies in wickedness," (so our translation renders it) 
is involved in sin ; but, by the article and opposition, 
St. John seems to intend the devil: *^We know 
(says he) that we are of God, and the whole world, 
cv r^ wovriptp icarac, is subject to the evil one," and 
under his power and dominion. Which way soever 
we render it, it signifies that evil of one kind or 
other reigns in the world. Now, can evil come 
from a good God ? ** Out of the same mouth pro- 
ceedeth blessing and cursing? Doth a fountain 
send forth, at the same place, sweet water and bitter? 
This cannot be," as St. James speaks in another 



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20 

case. But all evils that are in the world, roust 
either he directly proQul^d by the Divine Provi- 
dence, or permitted to happen ; and, next to the 
causing and proQuring of evil, it seems to be coa- 
trary to the goodness of God to permit that there 
should be any sux:h thing, Mrheo it is in his power 
to help and hinder it. 

Answer. — ^To give an accdunt of this : it was an 
ancient doctrine of some of the most ancient nations, 
that there were two first cfiuses or principles ef all 
things, the one of good thingd, the other of bad ; 
which, among the Persians, were called Oromasdes 
and Arimanius ; among the Egyptians, Osiris and 
Typhon ; among the Chaldeans, good or bad 
planets; among the Greeks, Zcvc and ^'AS^c : Plu- 
tarch expressly says, that the good principle was 
called God, and the bad. Daemon, or the devil ; in 
conformity to which ancient traditions, the Mani- 
chees (a sad sect of Christians) set up two principles ; 
the one infinitely good, which they supposed to be 
the original cause of all good that is in the world ; 
the other infinitely evil, to which they ascribed all 
the evils that are in the world. 

But, besides that the notion of an infinite evil is a 
contradiction, it would be to no purpose to suppose 
two opposite principles of equal power and force. 
That the very notion of an infinite evil is a contra^ 
diction will be very clear, if we consider, that what 
is infinitely evil must be infinitely imperfect, and, 
consequently, infinitely weak ; and, for that reason, 
though never so mischievous and malicious, yet, 
being infinitely weak, and ignorant, and foolish, 
would neither be in a capacity to contrive mischief, 
nor to execute it. But admit that a being infinitely 
mischievous were infinitely cunning, and infinitely 



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ponrerftil, yet it could do no evil ; bec^miei the op^ 
p6site priDciple of iDfioite goodness beiDg also 19^ 
finitely wise and powerful, tbey would tie up one 
another's hands : so that, upon this supposition^ the 
notion of a Deity would signify just nothing, and 
by virtue of the eternal opposition aud equality of 
these two principles^ they would keep one another 
at a perpetual bay, and, beiug an equal match for 
one another, instead of being two deities, they 
would be two idols, able to do neither good nor 
evil. 

But to return a more distinct and satis&ctory 
answer to this objection : There are three sorts of 
evil in the world ; the evil of imperfection, the evil 
of affliction and suffering, and the evil of sin. 

And, firsts for the evil of imperfection, I mean 
natural imperfections, these are not simply and ab* 
solutely, but only comparatively evil : now com- 
parative evil is but a less degree of goodness ; and 
it is not at all inconsistent with the goodness of God 
that some creatures should be less good than others ; 
that is, imperfect in comparison of them ; nay, it is 
itery agreeable, both to the goodness and wisdom of 
God, that there should be this^ variety inthe crea^ 
tures, and that they should be of several degrees of 
perfection, being made tor several uses and pur- 
poses, and to be subservient to one another, provided 
they, all contribute to the harmony aud bei^uty of 
the Whole. 

Some imperfection is necessarily involved in the 
very nature aud condition of a creature; as, that it 
derives its being from another, and necessarily de- 
pends upon it, and is beholden to it, and is likewise 
of necessity finite and limited in its nature and per^ 
factions ; and as for those creatures which are les# 



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24 

^rfect than others, this also, that there should be 
degrees of perfection, is necessary, upon supposition, 
that the wisdom of God thinks fit to display itself 
in variety of creatures of several kinds and ranks ; 
for though, comparing the creatures with one ano- 
ther, the angelical nature is best and most perfect, 
yet it is. absolutely best that there should be other 
creatures besides angels. There are many parts of 
the creation which are rashly and inconsiderately 
by us concluded to be evil and imperfect, as some 
noxious and hurtful creatures, which yet, in other 
respects, and to some purposes, may be very use- 
ful, and against the harm and mischief whereof we 
are sufficiently armed, by such means of defence, 
and such antidotes, as reason and experience are 
able to find and furnish us withal ; and those parts 
of the world which we think of little or no use, as 
rocks and deserts, and that vast wilderness of the 
sea, if we consider things well, are of great use to 
several very considerable purposes ; or, if we can 
discern no other use of them, they serve at least to 
help our dulness, and to make us more attentively 
to consider and to admire the perfection and use*' 
fulness of the rest ; at the worst they may serve 
for foils to set off the wise order and contrivance of 
other things, and (as one expresseth it very well) 
they may be like a blackmoor's head in a picture, 
^hich gives the greater beauty to the whole piece. 

Secondly, For the evils of affliction and suffering; 
and these either befal brute creatures, or men en- 
dowed with reason and consideration. 

1st, For those which befal the brute creatures; 
those sufferings which nature inflicts upon them are 
very few ; the greatest they meet withal are from 
men, or upon their account, for whose sake they 



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S3 

were chiefly made, and to whose reasonable use 
and gentle dominion they are consigned. 

It is necessary, from the very -nature of these 
creatures, that they should .be passive, and liable to 
pain ; and yet it doth in no wise contradict either 
the wisdom or goodness of God to make such crea- 
tures, because alt these pains are, for the most part, 
fully recompensed by the pleasure these creatures 
find in irfe ; and that they have such a pleasure and 
happiness in life is evident, in that all creatures, 
notwithstanding the miseries they endure, are still 
fond of life, and unwilling to part with it : no crea*- 
ture but man (who only hath perverted his nature) 
ever seeks the destruction of itself; and, since all 
brute creatures are so loath to go out of being, we 
may prqbably conclude, that if they could delibe- 
rate whether they should be or not, they would 
choose to come into being, even upon these hard 
conditions. 

But, however that be, this we are sure ^of, that 
they suffer chiefly from us, and upon our account ; 
we, who are their natural Jords, having depraved 
ourselves first, are become cruel and tyrannical to 
them ; nay, the Scripture tells us, that they suffer 
for our sakes, and 'Hhe whole creation groaneth, 
and is in bondage" for the sin of man. And this is 
not unreasonable, that, being made principally for 
man, they should suffer upon his account, as a part 
of his goods and estate, not as a punishment to 
them (whicby nnder the notion of punishment, they- 
are not capable of), but as a punishment to him who 
is the lord and owner of them, they being,, by this 
means, become mpre weak and frail, and less useful 
tfnd serviceable to him for whom they were made ;• 
)5X) that the sufferings of the creatures b^low us are, 



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34 

in a greiit tneasure, to be charged upon uei, under 
whose dominion God hath put them. 

2dly» As for the afflictions and sufferiugs which 
befal men, these are not natural, and of God's mak- 
ing, but the result and fruit of our own doings, the 
effects and consequences of the ill use of our own 
liberty, and free choice ; and God does not willingly 
send them upon us, but we wilfully pull them down 
upon ourselves ; for " he doth not afflict willingly, 
nor grieve the children of men," as the prophet te) Is 
us, (Lam. iii. 33.) Or, as it is in the Wisdom of Solo- 
mon, (chap, i. 12, 13.) ** God made not death, neither 
hath be pleasure in the destruction of the living ; but 
men pull destruction upon themselves,withthe works 
of their own hands." All the evils that are in the 
world, are either the effects of our own sin, as po- 
verty, and disgrace, pains, diseases, and death, which 
are sometimes more immediately inflicted upon men 
by a visible providence and hand of God, but are 
usually brought upon us by ourselves, in the natu- 
ral course and order of things; or they are the 
effects of other men's sins, brought upon us by 
the ambition and covetousness, by the malice and 
cruelty, of others ; and these evils, though they are 
procured and caused by others, yet they are de- 
served by ourselves ; and though they are immedi- 
ately from the band of men, yet we ought to look 
farther, and considjer them as directed and disposed 
by the providence of God ; as David did when Shi- 
mei cursed him ; '* God (saith . be) hath bid him 
curse David," though it imquediately proceeded from 
Shimei's insolence and ill-nature. 

Now, upon the supposition of sin, the evils of afflic- 
tion and suffering are good, because they are of great 
use to us,aud serve tovery goods ends and purposes. 



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1. As they are the proper punishments of sin. 
Evil is good to them that do evil ; that is, it is fit 
and proper, just and due: (Psal. cvii. 17.) " Fools, 
because of their transgression, and because of their 
iniquities, are afflicted." And it is fit they should 
be so ; crooked to crooked, is straight and right. 
'* A rod for the back of fools," saith Solomon ; and 
elsewhere, " God hath made every thing for that 
vrhich IB fit for it, and the evil day for the wicked 
man." 

2. As they are the preventions and remedies 
of greater evils. Evils of affliction and suffering are 
good for wicked men, to bring them to a sense of 
their sin, and to reclaim them from it, and thereby 
to prevent greater temporal evils, and preserve them 
from eternal misery ; and not only good to the per- 
son that suffers, but likewise to others, to deter and 
affright them from the like sins ; to prevent the con- 
tagion of sin, and to stop the progress of iniquity, 
upon wyi(b greater guilt and worse mischiefs might 
ensue ; and they are good to good men, to awaken 
and rouse them out of their security, to make them 
know God and themselves better ; they are almost 
a necessary discipline for the best of men, m«cb 
more for evil and depraved dispositions ; and we 
might as reasonably expect that there should be 
no rod in a school, as that there should be no suf- 
fering and afflictions in the world. 

3. As they are the occasions and matter of 
many virtues. G#d teachc^ men temperance by 
want, and patience by reproai;;{i and sufferings, cha- 
rity by persecution, and pity and compassion to 
others by grievous pains upon ourselves. The benefit 
of afflictions, to them that make a wise use of them, 
is unspeakable; they are grievous in themselves, 

VOL. Vll. D 



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to 

^ Nevertheless (saith the apostle to the Hebrews) 
they bring forth the peaceable fruits of righteous- 
Bets, to them that are exercised therewith/' David 
givesa great testimony of the mighty benefit and ad- 
vantage of them, iVom his own experience; (Psal. 
cxiK.67.) ** Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but 
now have I kept thy word." And, (ver,71,) "It is 
good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might 
learn thy statutes." 

4. The evils of suffering, patiently submitted 
to, and decently borne, do greatly contribute to 
the increase of our happiness. Ail the persecutions 
and sufferings of good .men in this life, ** do work 
/br us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of 
glory.^ And if they contribute to our greater good 
and happiness at last, they are good. The glorious 
reward of the sufferings which we have met with in 
this life, will in the next clear up the goodness and 
justice of the Divine Providence from all those mists 
and clouds which are now upon it, and fnHgr acquit 
it from those objections which are now raised 
against it, upon account of the afflictions and suf- 
ferings of good men in this life, which ** are not 
worthy to be compared with the glory which shall 
be revealed in them." 

Thirdly, As for the evil of sin, which is the great 
dWculty of all, how is it consistent with the good-, 
ness of God, to permit so great an evil as this to 
come into the world ? for answer to this, I desire 
tiiese two things may be considered : 

1. That it doth not at all contradict the wisdom 
or goodness of God, to make a creature of such a 
frame, as to be capable of having its obedience tried, 
in order to the reward of it ; which could not be, 
unless such a creature were made mutable, and, 



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97 

by the good or bad us^ of its liberty^, capable of obey- 
ing or disobeying the laws of hi^ Creato? ; for viben^ 
there is no possibility of ginning, there can be do trial 
of our virtue aod obedience; and nothing but virtqe 
and obedience are capable of reward. The good- 
ness of God towards us is sufficiently vindicated, 
in that he made us capable of happiness, and gave 
us sufficient direction and power for the attaining 
of that end ; and it does in no wise contradict his 
goodness, that he dqes not, by bis omnipotency, 
interpose to prevent our sio : for this had been to 
alter the nature of things, and not to let map be the 
creature he made him, capable of reward or punish- 
ment, according to the good or bad use of his own 
free choice. It is sufficient that God made man 
good at first, though mutable, and that he had H 
power to have continued so, though he wilfqlly de- 
termined himself to evil : this acquits the goodness 
of God, that '' be made man upright," but he found 
out to himself many inventions. 

2. If there had not been such an order and raqi; 
of creatures as had been in their nature mutable, 
th^re had been no place for the manifestation of 
God's goodness in away of mercy and patience: sq 
that though God be not the author of the sins of 
men, yet, in case of their wilful transgression and 
disobedience, the goodness of God hath a fair op- 
portunity of discovering itself, in his patience and 
long-suffering to sinners, and in his merciful care 
and provision for their recovery out of that miser- 
able state. And this may suffice for answer tp the 
first objection — if God be so good, whence then 
comas evil ? 

The second objection against the goodness oi 
God, is from the doctrine of absolute reprobation : 

D 2 



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38 

by tyhich I mean, the decreeing the greatest part 
of mankind to eternal misery and torment, without 
any consideration or respect to their sin and faolt. 
This seems not only notoriously to contradict the 
notion of infinite goodness, but to be utterly in- 
consistent with the least measure and degree of 
'goodness. Indeed, if by reprobation were only 
meant that God, in his own infinite knowledge, 
foresees the sins and wickedness of men, and hath 
from all eternity determined in himself, what in his 
word he hath so plaioly declared, that he will 
punish impenitent sinners with everlasting destruc- 
tion ; or if by reprobation be meant, that God hath 
not elected all mankind, that is, absolutely decreed 
to bring them infallibly to salvation : neither of 
these notions of reprobation is any ways inconsist- 
ent with the goodness of God ; for he may foresee 
the wickedness of men, and determine to punish 
it, without any impeachment of his goodness : he 
may be very good to all, and yet not equally and in 
the same degree : if God please to bring any infalli- 
bly to salvation, this is transcendent goodness ; but 
if he put all others into a capacity of it, and use all 
necessary and fitting means to make them happy, 
and, after all this, any fall short of happiness through 
their own wilful fault and obstinacy ; these men 
are evil and cruel to themselves, but God hath been 
very good and merciful to them. 

But if by reprobation be meant, either that God 
hath decreed, without respect to the sins of men, 
their absolute ruin and misery, or that he hath de- 
creed that they shall inevitably sin and perish ; it 
cannot be denied, but that such a reprobation as 
this doth clearly overthrow all possible notion of 
goodness. I have told you, that the true and only 



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39 
notion of goodness in God is this« that it is a pro- 
pension and disposition of the Divine nature, to com- 
municate being and happiness to his creatures : but 
surely, nothing can be more plainly contrary to a dis- 
poifttiou to make them happy^ than an absolute de* 
cree, and a peremptory resohition to make them mi- 
serable. God is infinitely better than the best of men, 
and yet none can possibly think that map agoodman, 
who should absolutely resolve to disinherit and dcr 
stroy his children, without the foresight and consi- 
deration of any fault to be committed by them. We 
may talk of the goodness of God ; but it is not an 
easy matter to devise or say any thing worse th^p 
this of the devil. 

But it is said, reprobation is an act of sovereignty 
in God, and therefore not to be measured by the 
conmion rules of goodness. But it is contrary to 
goodness, and plainly inconsistent with it ; and we 
must not attribute such a sovereignty to God, as 
contradicts his goodness ; for if the sovereignty of 
God may break in at pleasure upon his other attri* 
butes, then it signifies nothing, to say that God is 
good, and wise, and just, if his sovereignty may at 
any time act contrary to these perfections. 

Now, if the doctrine of absolute reprobation, and 
the goodness of God, cannot possibly stan4 toge^- 
ther, the question is, which of them ought to give 
way to the other ? What St. Paul determines in 
another case, concerning the truth and fidelity of 
God, will equally hold concerning his goodness; 
" Let Grod be" good, " and every man a liar." The 
doctrine of absolute reprobation is no part of the 
doctrinre of the Holy Scriptures, that ever I could 
find ; and there is the rule of pur faith. If some great 
divines have held this doctrine, not in opposition to 



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30 

(he f oodness of God, but hoping they might be re- 
cDticiled together, let them do it if they can ; but if 
they cannot, rather let the schools of the greatest 
divines be called in question, than the goodness of 
God, which, next to his being, is the greatest and 
clearest truth in the world. 

Thirdly, It is farther objected, that the eternal 
punishment of men, for temporal faults, seems hard 
to be reconciled with that excess of goodness, which 
we suppose to be in God. 

This objection I have fully answered^ in a dis- 
course upon St. Matthew, (chap. xxv. 46.) and 
therefore shall proceed to the 

Fourth and last objection against the goodness 
of God, from sundry instances of God's severity to 
mankind, iu those great calamities which, by the 
providence of God, have, in several ages, either be- 
fallen mankind in general, or particular nations. 

And here I shall confine myself to Scripture in- 
stances, as being most known, and most certain and 
remarkable, or at least equally remarkable with 
any that are to be met with in any other history : 
such are the early and universal degeneracy of all 
mankind, by the sin and transgression of our first 
parents; the destruction of the world by a general 
deluge ; the sudden and terrible destruction of So- 
dom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, by fire 
and brimstone from heaven ; the cruel extirpation 
of the Canaanites,by the express command of God ; 
and, lastly, the great calamities which befel the 
Jewish nation, especially the final ruin and disper- 
sion of them at the destruction of Jerusalem : these, 
and the like instances of God*s severity, seem to call 
in question his goodness. 

Against these severe and dreadful instances of 



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51 

God's severity, it might be a sufficieat Tiodicatiou of 
bin goodDess, to say, in general, that they were all 
upon great and high provocations ; aod most of 
them after a long patience and forbearance, and 
With a great mixture of mercy, and a declared rear 
diness in God to have prevented or removed them, 
upon repentance ; ail which are great instances of 
the goodness of God : but yet, for the clearer mani- 
festation of the Divine goodness, I shall consider 
them particularly and as briefly as I can. 

l.Asforthe transgression of our first parents, 
and the dismal consequences of it to all their poste- 
rity : this is a great depth ; and though the Scrip- 
ture mentions it, yet it speaks but little of it ; and io 
matters of mere revelation, we must not attempt 
" to be wise above what is written.** Thus much is 
plain, that it was an act of high and wilful disobe- 
dience to a very plain and easy command ; and that, 
in the punishment of it, God mitigated the extre- 
mity of the sentence (which was present death), by 
granting our first parents the reprieve of almost a 
thousand years: and as to the consequences of it to 
their posterity, God did not, upon this provocatioo^ 
abandon his care of mankind ; and, though he re- 
moved them out of that happy state and place in 
which man was created, yet he gave them a toler^ 
ble condition and accommodations upon earth : 
and, which is certainly the most glorious instance 
of Divine goodness that ever was, he was pleased 
to make the fall and misery of man, the happy oc- 
casion of sending his Son in our nature for the re- 
covery and advancement of it to a much happier 
and better condition than that from which we fell 
So the apostle tells us, at large, (Romans v.) that 
*' the grace of God by Jesus Christ," hath redounded 



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38 

much more to our benefit and advantage, than 
^* the sin and disobedience of our first parents'" did 
to our prefudice. 

2. For the general deluge, though it look very 
severe, yet, if we consider it well, we may plainly 
discern much of goodness in it; it was upon great 
provocation, by the universal corruption and depra- 
vation of mankind : '* The earth was filled with 
violence, and all flesh had corrupted its ways ; the 
wickedness of man was great upon the earth, and 
every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was 
only evil continually;" which is not a description 
of original sin, but of the actual and improved 
wickedness of mankind: and yet, when the wicked- 
ness of men was come to this height, God gave them 
fair warning, before he brought this calamity upon 
tbem, " when the patience of God waited in the days 
of Noah," for the space of " a hundred and twenty 
years ;*' at last, when nothing would reclaim them, 
and almost the whole race of mankind were become 
«o very bad, that it is said, ** it repented the Lord 
that he had made man upon the earth, and it grieved 
him at his heart ;" when things were thus extremely 
bad, and like to continue so, God, in pity to man- 
kind, and to put a stop to their growing wickedness 
and guilt, swept them away all at once from the 
face of the earth, except one family, which he had 
preserved from this contagion, to be a new seminary 
of mankind, and, as the heathen poet expresseth it, 
Mundi meliofis origo^ V The source and original of a 
better race." 

3. ^OT that terrible destruction of Sodom and 
Gomorrah by fire and brimstone from heaven, it was 
not brought upon them till " the cry of their sin was 
great, and gone up to heaven ;" until, by thpir un- 



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S3 .^ 

natoral lusts, they had provoked supernatural ven- 
geance. And it is very remarkable, to i^hat low 
terms God was pleased to condescend to Abraham 
for the sparing of them ; (Gen. xviii. 32.) if in those 
five cities there had been found ** but ten righteous 
persons, he would not have destroyed them for those 
ten's sake/' So that we may say with the apostle, 
** Behold the goodness and severity of God !" Here 
was wonderful goodness mixed with this great se- 
verity. 

4. For the extirpation of the Canaanites, by the 
express command of God, which hath such an ap- 
pearance of severity, it is to be considered, (hat this 
vengeance was not executed upon them, until they 
were grown ripe for if. God spared them for above 
four hundred years, for so long their growing im- 
piety is ta]|en notice of., (Gen. xv. 16.) where it is 
said that v^ the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet 
full:" God did not proceed to cut them off until their 
case was desperate, past all hopes of recovery, until 
'' the land was defiled with abominations," and sur- 
charged with wickedness to that degree, as to *- spew 
out its inhabitants;" as is expressly said, Levit. 
xviii. 28. When they were arrived to this pitch, it 
was no mercy to them to spare them any longer, to 
heap up more guilt and misery to themselves.' 

Fifthly, and lastly. As for the great calamities 
which God brought upon the Jews, especially in 
their final ruin and dispersion at the destruction 
of Jerusalem; not to insist upon the known history 
of their multiplied rebellions and provocations, of 
their despiteful usage of God's prophets whom he 
sent to warn them of his judgments, and to call 
them to repentance ; of their obstinate refuse^ to 
receive correction, and to be brought to ameivl- 



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94 

ment, by any meaos that God could use ; for all 
which provocations^ he at last delivered them ioto 
their enemies' hands, to carry them away captive : 
not to insist upon this, I shall only consider their 
final destruction by the Romans, which, though it 
be dreadfully severe, beyond any example of his- 
tory, yet the provocation was proportionable; for 
this vengeance did not come upon them, until they 
had, a» it were, extorted it, by the most obstinate 
impenitency and unbelief, in '* rejecting the coun- 
sel of God against themselves,'* and resisting such 
means as would have brought Tyre and Sidon, 
Sodom and Gomorrah, to repentance ; until they had 
despised the doctrine of life and salvation, delivered 
to them by the Sou of God, .and confirmed from 
heaven by the clearest and greatest miracles; and 
by wicked hands had crucified and slai^ the Son of 
God, and the Saviour of the world. Nay, even aftw 
this greatest of sins that ever was committed, God 
waited for their repentance forty years, to see if in 
that time they would be brought to a sense of their 
sins, and to ** know the things which belonged to 
their peace." And no wonder if, after such provo- 
cations, and so much patience* and so obstinate an 
impenitency, the goodness of God at last gave way 
to his justice, and '* wrath came upon them to the 
utmost/' 

So that all these instances, rightly considered, 
are rather commendations of the Divine goodness, 
than just and reasonable objections against it; and 
notwithstanding the severity of them, it is evident 
that God is good, from the primary inclinations of 
his nature ; and severe only upon necessity, and in 
case of just provocation. And to be otherwise, not 
Id punish insolent impiety apd incorrigible wicked- 



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35 

ness in a severe and remarkable manner, would not 
be goodness, but a fond indulgence; not patience, 
but stupidity; not mercy to mankind, but cruelty; 
because it would be an encouragement to them to 
do more mischief, and to bring greater misery upon 
themselves. 

So that if we supp»me God to be holy and just, as 
well as good, there is nothing in any of these in* 
stances, but what is very consistent with all that 
goodness which we can suppose to be in a holy, 
and wise, and just Governor, who is a declared 
enemy to sin, and is resolved to give all fitting dis- 
countenance to the breach and violation of his laws. 
It is necessary, in kindness and compassion to the 
rest of mankind, that some should ]be made remark^ 
able instances of God's severity ; that the punish- 
ment of a few may be a warning to all, that they 
may hear and fear, and, by avoiding the like sins, 
may prevent the like severity upon themselves. 

And now I have, as briefly as I could, explained 
atid vindicated the goodness of God ; the consider- 
ation whereof is fruitful of many excellent and use- 
ful inferences, in relation both to our comfort and 
our duty : but these I shall refer to another oppor« 
tunity. 



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SERMON CXLVI. 

THE GOODNESS OF GOD. 

The Lord is good to ally and his tender mercies are 
over all his M?orA:5.— Psalm cxlv. 9. 

I HAVE made several discourses upon this argumeDt 
of the goodness of God; shewing what it is; on 
what accounts we ascribe it to God ; what are tlie 
effects and large extent of it to the whole creation^ 
and more particularly to mankind ; and, in the last 
place, considered the several objections which seem 
to lie against it. I proceed now to the application 
of this excellent argument, the consideration where- 
of is so fruitful of useful inferences, in relation 
both to our cotpfort and duty. And, 

I. This shews us the prodigious folly and unrea- 
sonableness of atheism. Most of the atheism that 
is in the world, doth not so much consist in a firm 
persuasion that there is no God, as in vain wishes 
and desires that there were none. Bad men think 
it would be a happiness to Ihem, and that they 
should be in a much better condition if there 
were no God, than if there be one. Nemo deum 
non esse credit^ nisi cui Deum non esse expedit ; 
^* No man is apt to disbelieve a God, but he 
whose interest it is that there should be none.'' 
And if we could see into the hearts of wicked men, 
we should find this lying at the bottom, that if 
there be a God, he is just, and will punish sin ; that 
he is infinite in power, and not to be resisted, and 
therefore kills them with his terror so often as4he^ 



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37 

fbiak of him : hence they apprehend it their in* 
terest that there should be no God, and wish there 
were none, and thence are apt to cherish in their 
minds a vain hope that there is none, and at last 
endeavour to impose upon themselves by vain rea- 
sonings, and to suppress the belief of a God, and to 
stifle their natural apprehensions and fears of him. 
So that it is not Primus in orbe deos fecit timer, 
''Fear that first made gods," but the fear whioh'bad 
men have of Divine power and justice, that first 
tempted them to the disbelief of him. 

But were not these men as foolish as they are 
wicked, they would wish with all their hearts there 
vrme a God, and be glad to believe so : and the 
Psalmist gives them theit true character, who can 
entertain any such thoughts or wishes ; (Psal. xiv. 
h) '* The fool hath said in his heart. There is no 
God i" for they are fools who do not understand nor 
consult their trne interest. And if this be true 
which I have said concerning the goodness of God, 
if this be bis nature, to desire and procure the hap* 
piness of his creatures ; whoever understands the 
true nature of God, and his own true interest, can- 
not but wish there were a God, and be glad of any 
argument to prove it, and rejoice to find it true; as 
children are glad of a kind and tender father, and 
as subjects rejoice in a wise and ,good prince. 

*The goodness of God gives us a lovely character 
of him, makes him so good a father, so gracious a 
governor of men, that if there were no such being 
in the world, it were infinitely desirable to mankind, 
that there should be: he is such an one, Qualem 
omnes cuperent^ si deesset; '' As, if he were wanting, 
all men ought to wish for." The being of God is so 
comfortable, so convenient, so necessary to the fell- 



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98 

city of tnankipd, that (as Tully admirably saya) 
Diiinunorlctles ad usam kominum fahrieatipene vi^ 
deantnr; "If Grodwere not a necessary being of 
himself, he might almost seem to be made on puiVf 
pose for the use and benefit of men/' So that athe- 
ism is not only an instance of the roost horrible im« 
piety, but of the greatest stupidity; and for men to 
glory in their disbelief of a God, is like the rejoic* 
ing-aod triumph of a furious and besotted multitude 
m the murder of a wise and good prince, the greats 
est calamity and confusion that could poHsibly have 
befallen them. 

If the evidence of Grod's being were not so clear 
as it is, yet the consideration of his goodness ought 
to check all inclination to atheism and infidelity ; 
for if he be as good as he is represented to us, both 
by natural hght and Divine reFelation (and he is 
so, as sure as he is), if he tender our welfare, and 
desire our happiness, as much as we ourselves can 
do, and use all wise ways and proper means to bring 
it about ; then it is plainly every man's interest, even 
thine^ O sinner I to whom, after all thy provocations, 
he is willing to be reconciled, that there should be 
such a being as Grod is ; and whenever thou comest 
to thyself, thou wilt be sensible of thy want of him, 
and thy soul will " thirst for God, even the living 
God, and pant after him as the hart pants after the 
water-brooks ;" in the day of thy afi[liction and cala- 
mity, " when distress and anguish cometh upon 
thee," thou wilt flee to God for refuge, and shelter 
thyself under his protection, and wouldest not, for 
ftll the world, but there were such a being in it to 
}y^ and deliver thee. I>eo$ nemo sanus timet (says 
Seneca) ; furor est metuere mlutaria; ** No man in 
his wits is afraid there is a God : it is a madness t0 



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59 

fear tiiat which is so much for our benefit and ad- 
Tantage.** Human nature is conscious to itself of its 
own weakness and insufficiency, and of its neces* 
sary dependance upon something without itself for 
its happiness ; and therefore, in great extremity and 
distress, the atheist himself hath naturally recourse 
to him ; and he who denied and rejected him in his 
prosperity, clings to him in adversity, as his only 
support and present help in time of trouble. And 
this is a sure indication, that these men, after all 
their endeavours to impose upon themselves, have 
not been , able wholly to extinguish in their minds 
the belief of God, and his goodness; nay, it is a 
sign, at the bottom of their hearts, they have a firm 
persuasion of his goodness, when, after all their in- 
solent defiance of him, they have the confidence to 
apply to him for mercy and help, *^m time of need :^ 
and therefore, our hearts ought to rise with indigna- 
tion against those who go about to persuade the be- 
lief of a thing so prejudicial to our interest, to take 
away " the light of our eyes, and the breath of our 
nostrils," and to rob us of all the comfort and sup- 
port which the belief of an infinite power, con- 
ducted by infinite wisdom and goodness, is apt to 
afford to mankind. 

II. We should take great care of proven ting and 
abusing this great goodness, by vain confidence and 
presumption. This is a provocation of a high na- 
ture, which the Scripture calls, ** turning the grace 
of God into wantonness ;*' making that an encou^ 
ragement to^n, which is one of the strongest argu- 
ments in the world against it God is infinitely 
good and merciful: but we must not, therefori^ 
think that he is fond and indulgent to our faults; 
but, on the contrary, because he is good, he cannot 



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40 

but hate evil. So the Scripture every where tells 
118, that " He is of purer eyes than to behold ini- 
quity ;" that '^ the face of the Lord is against them 
that do evil : he is not a God that hath pleasure in 
wickedness, neither shall evil dwell with him : the 
foolish shall not stand in his sight; he hatethalf the 
workers of iniquity." He is ready to shew mercy 
to those who are qualified for it by repentance, and 
resolution of a better course: but as long as we 
continue impenitent, God is implacable, and will 
deal with us according to the tenor of his laws, and 
the desert of our doings. Despair is a great sin, 
but presumption is a greater : despair doubts of thy'* 
goodtiess of God, but presumption abuseth it; de- 
spair disbelieves, but presumption perverts the best 
thing in the world to a quite contrary purpose from 
what it was intended. 

Hf. The consideration of God's goodness, is a 
mighty comfort and relief to our minds, under all 
our fears and troubles. Great are the fears and 
jealousies of many devout minds concerning God's 
love to them, and their everlasting condition ; which 
are commonly founded in one of these two causes, a 
melancholy temper, or mistaken notions and appre- 
hensions of God ; and very often these two meet 
together, and hinder the cure and removal of one 
another. 

Melancholy, as it is an effect of bodily temper, is 
a disease not to be cured by reason and argument, 
but by physic and time: but the mistakes which 
men have entertained concerning Gq(J, if they be 
not set on and heightened by melancholy (as many 
jUmes they are), may be rectified by a true represent- 
ation of the goodness of God, confirmed by reason 
and Scripture. Many good men have had very bard 



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41 

and iDJurioiis thoughts of Qod instilled idto them, 
from doctrines too commooly taught and received ; 
as if he did not sincerely desire the happiness of his 
creatures, but had, from all eternity, decreed to 
make the greatest part of mankind, with a secret 
purpose and design, to make them miserable ; sind, 
consequently, were not serious and in a good earnest 
in bis invitations and exhortations of sinners to re- 
pentance ; and it is no wonder if such jealousies as 
these concerning God, make men doubtful whether 
God love them, and very scrupulous and anxious 
about their everlasting condition. 

I have already told you, that these harsh doc- 
trines have no manner of foundation, either in reason 
or Scripture ; that God earnestly desires our hap- 
piness, and affords us sufficient means to that end ; 
that he bears a more hearty good-will to us, than 
any man does to his friend, or any father upon 
earth ever did to his dearest child ; in comparison 
of which, the greatest affection of men to those 
whom they love best, is ^' but as the drop of the 
bucket, as the very small dust upon the balance.** 
If we have right apprehensions of God's goodness,, 
vre can have no temptation to despair of his kind 
and merciful intentions to us, provided we be ^ut 
careful of our duty to him, and do sincerely repent 
and forsake our sins. Plainer declarations no 
ivords can make, than those we meet vnth in the 
Holy Scriptures, that ^^ God hath no pleasure in 
the death of the wicked, but rather that he should 
turn from his wickedness and live ;*' that ^* he 
would have all men to be saved, and to come to the- 
knowledge of the truth ;** that ** he is long^^uffering 
to US-ward, riot vrilling that any should perish, but 
that all should come to repentance ;'* that ^* he that 

VOL. VII. E 



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48 

^mIiswUi tAd fotraaketli his sib, Bhall famye mercy :" 
tbsvt *^ if the wickdd fofsaLe his ways, aod the unt 
righteQiif oiao hia thoughta, and retom unto the 
I#ofdi be ^tll have mercy, and will abundantly 

. As for outward oalamities and afflictioBS, thq 
fmwideration of God's goodness is a ^rtn ground of 
oopralation. to us, giring us assurance^ that God 
will either prevent them by his providence, or sup^ 
p^t US under them, or rescue ua out of tkem, or 
imm. them to our greater good and happiness io 
this world, or the msxU St. Paul speaks of it aa 
the firm belief and pecsnasion of all good men, that, 
m tliei isauQ, all their actions should prove to their 
a4Yiintage ; *^ We know («aye he; that all things 
9halL work togiether for gooA to them that love 
G^A/ A4id one of the greatest evidences of our 
l^kve to God, ie a firm belief and persuasion of hie 
goodueoa ; if. we believe his goodueas, we cannot 
but love him; and if we love him, '^ all things shall 
wiirk together for our good/' 

And^sis a great cordial to those who are under 
grk^ous persecutions aad sufferings,^ which is the 
OMieof bur brethren in a neighbouring nation, and 
may come to be ours, God knows how soon. But 
though the malice of men be great, and backed 
nith a power not to be controlled by any visible 
maana^ and therefore likely to continue ; yet the 
goodness of God is greater ihan the malice of men, 
and of a longer duration aud continuance. And 
tbne David comforted himself when be was p^rse* 
cuied by Saul; (Psal. lii* K) '' Wby boastest thou 
thyself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness 

* ThU SerpM <waat prea«b^ before the iaie htppj Revolutiov* . 



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4B 

of Ood knloretb conthtaally/' The peMeCntiofi 
whicb Saul mtted a^hist hitti was very j^wdrftil^ 
and lasted a fong time; bat he ooittfortft hiiMdlT 
witb tbi0, that <^ the goodaesd 6( God endon^ let 



even** 



IV. The coo&rid^ratioa of God*9 goodneite, is a 
poweribl motive and arguttteat to s^^veral duties. 

1. To the lave of God. And this is the most . 
proper and natural eff^t and operatioa of the good^ 
Hess of God upon otir minds. Seyeral df the Divine 
attributes are very awful, but goodness is amiable ; 
and, without this, nothing else is so. Power aad 
wisdom may command dread and admiration ; but 
nothing but goodness can challenge our love and 
afiection. Goodness is amiable for itself, thotigh no 
benefit and advantage should from thence redound 
to us : bot when we find the comfortable effects of 
it, when ** the riches of God's goodness, and long- 
sidflering, and forbearance" are laid out upon us, 
when we live upon that goodness, and are indebted 
to it for all that we have and hope for ; this is i^ 
much greater endearment to us of that excellency 
and perfection, which was amiable for itself. We 
cannot bnt love him who is good, and does us good ; 
whote goodness extends to aN his creatures, but iti 
exercised in so peculiar a manner towards the sonsr 
of men, that it is called love ; and if God vouchsafe 
to love us, well may this be '* the first and great 
commandment. Thou shall love the Lord thy God 
with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with 
all thy mind.** 

2. The consideration of God's goodness is like- 
wise an argument for us to fear him ; not as a sfavef 
does his master, but as a child does his father, who 
the more he loves him, the more afraid he is to 

e2 



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44 

pflfbod hinj. " There is foi^veoess mib thee^ (saith 
the Psalmist) that thou mayest be feared :" because 
God is ready to forgive, we should be afraid to 
offend. '' Mea shall fear the Lord, and his good- 
ness/' saith the prophet. (Hosea iii. 5.) And, in- 
deed, nothing is raore to be dreaded than despised 
goodness, and abused patience, which turns into 
fury and vengeance : " Despisest thou the riches of 
his goodness, and long-suflTering, and forbearance, 
(says the apostle) and treasurest up to thyself wrath 
against the day of wrath, and revelation of the 
righteous judgment of God ?" 

3. The consideration of God's goodness, is a 
powerful motive to obedience to his laws, and. (as 
the apostle expresseth it) " to walk worthy of the 
Lord unto all well-pleasing, being fruitful in every 
good work." This argument Samuel useth to the 
people of Israel, to persuade them to obedience; 
(1 Sam. xii. 24.) " Only fear the Lord, and serve 
him in truth with all your heart ; for consider how 
great things he hath done for you." 

And, indeed, the laws which God hath given, us, 
are none of the least instances of his goodness ^ 
us, since they all tend to our good, and are proper 
causes and means of our happiness: so that, in 
challenging our obedience to bis laws, as acknow- 
ledgments of our obligation to him for his benefits, 
he lays a new obligation, and confers a greater be< 
nefit upon us. All that his laws require of us, is 
to do that which is best for ourselves, and does most 
directly conduce to our own welfare and happiness. 
Considering our infinite obligations to God, he might 
have challenged our obedience to the severest and 
harshest laws he could, have imposed upon us: so 
that as tlie servants said to Naaman, " Had the 



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45 

prophet bid thee to do some great thing, wouldst 
thou not have done it? how mach more when he 
hath only said. Wash, and be clean ?" If God had 
required of us things very grievous and burthen^, 
some, in love and gratitude to him, we ought to 
have yielded a ready and cheerful obedience to such* 
commands; how much more when he hath only 
said, Do this, and be happy. In testimony of 
your love to me, do thesis things which are the great- 
est kindness and benefit to yourselves, 

4. The goodness of Qod should lead men to re- 
pentance. One of the greatest aggravations of our 
sins is, that we offend against so much goodness, 
and make so bad a requital for it ; ^^ Do ye thus re-^ 
quite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise!" Tlm^ 
proper tendency of God's goodness and patience to 
sinners, is to bring them to a sense of thpir mis^ 
carriage, and to a resolution of a better course. 
When we reflect upon the blessings and favours of 
God, and his continual goodness to us, can wei 
choose but be ashamed of our terrible ingratitude 
and disobedience? Nothing is more apt to make' 
an ingenuous nature to relent, than the sense of un-^ 
deserved kindness ; that God should be so good to , 
us, who are evil and unthankful to him ; that 
though we be enemies to him, yet, when we hunger,* 
he feeds us ; when we thirst, be gives us to drink ; 
leaping, as it were, coals of fire on our heads, on! 
purpose to melt us into repentance, and to pver«: 
come our evil by his goodness. 

5. The consideration of God's goodness is a firm 
ground of trust and confidence. What may we not 
hope and assuredly expect from immense and 
boundless goodness? If we have right apprehen- 
mons of the goodness of Qod, we cannot possibly 



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46 

diAtraat hho, or tknibt of the performtnce of thpae 
gi?ltGiQWi promisei whidi he bath made to ua ; the 
an<e goodtess which inclioed him to make 6«ch 
prciQliiaefii, will effectually eagage him to make 
them ([ood. If <xod be so good as he hath declared 
hivuietf) why should we think that he will uot help 
lis 10 our Dead, and relieve us in our distress, aad 
comfort us io our afflictions and sorrows? If we 
may with coufldetice rely upon any thing to confer 
good upon us, and to preserre and deliver us from 
evil, we may trust infinite goodness* 

A The goodoefwr of God is likewise an argument 
to us to patience and cxMiteDtedness with every coft* 
ditioA. If the hand of God be serene and heavy 
upon us in any affliction, we may be assured that it 
is not without great cause that so much goodness 
is 90 highly ofiended and displeased with us ; that 
bs designs our good in all the evils he sends us, and 
does not chastsB us for his pleasure, but for our 
profit; that we are the cause of our own sufierings, 
and our sins separate between God and us, and 
withhold gpod things from us; that in the final 
isaise and result of things, <* all things shall work to- 
gether fqr good" to us ; and therefore we ought not 
to be diaoonteated at any thing which will certainly 
e^d in our happiness* 

7. Let us imitate the goodness of God. The 
highest perfection of the best and most perfiect 
Being ia worthy to be our pattern : this Scripture 
frequently proposeth to us; (Matt. v. 48.) " Be ye 
therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in 
heaven is perfect.'* How is that? In being goodv 
and kia4, aa<l aierciAil, as God is: '' But I say unto 
you, (says our jLord) love your enemies, bless them 
thl^ curse you, do good to them that hate you. 



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47 , 

and pray for tbeai wliich despitefolly like yMii ttid 
persecute you ; that you m%j be the dhildreQ of 
your Father which is in heitTeD : for be nmketi^ kib 
suo to rise on the evil, and oa thfe go<^, and tend- 
eth rain on the just, and on the tinjtisl :" and ti)^ it 
follows, " Be ye therefore perfotit» ^^en as your Fa- 
ther which is in heaven is perfect." The Isafio^ pat*!- 
tern St. Paul proposeth to tis; (£phea. iv. 32^ ; ted 
chap. V. I.) '' Be ye kind one to atiotfaer^ tetide^- 
hearted ; forgiving one anoliier, even as Gdd, Cm 
Chrisfs sake, hath forgiven you. Be ye tberefoM 
followers of Ood as dear ckildr^ imd walk lii 
love.'' We Anoot in any thing resemble God mote 
than in goodne&s, and kindness, bud iaercy, atid in 
a readiness to forgive those who have been kgdrioua 
to tis, and to be reconciled to tbem. 

Let us then often coatemplate this perfection of 
God, and represent it to our minds, thl^ by tbe fye* 
queut contemplation of it, we may be transfortned 
into tbe image of the Divine goodness. Is God A> 
good to his creatures? tritb b^w oMch greater 
reason should we be so to our feUovT-ereatures? In 
God good to us? Liet us imitate !iia universal good- 
n^ssB, by endeavouring the good of »ankind ; and^ 
as much as in us lies, of tbe wholeicreatioH of God* 
What God ia |o ns, and what we would havte bim 
still be to ds, that let us be to others* We ate iA- 
finitely beholden to this perfectioa of God for all 
that we are, and for all that we enioy, and for all 
tiiat we expect ; «nd thcfrpfere 4re have aU the rear 
son in the world to adinire and Ifnitate it. Left thin 
pattern of tbe Divine goodoens be conlinually before 
ua, that we may be still fesbioaing onreelves in the 
temper of our minds, and ia the actiona of our lively 
to a likeness and conforaiity to it. . 



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48 

Lastly, The consideration of the Divine good- 
ness sboold excite our praise and thankfulness : 
this is a great duty, to the performance whereof we 
should summon all the powers and faculties of our 
souls : as the holy Psalmist does ; (Psal. ciii. 1, 2.) 
^ Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within 
me bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my 
soul, and forget not all his benefits." And we 
should invite all others to the same work, iEts the 
same devout Psalmist frequently does ; (Psal. cvi. 
i.) '* O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good ;; 
for bis mercy endureth for ever." And (Psal. cvii. 
8.) ** Oh that men would praise the Lord for his 
goodness, and for his wonderful works to the child* 
ren of men." 

And we had need to be often called upon to this- 
duty, to which we hav^ a peculiar backwardness. 
Necessity drives us to prayer, and sends us to God 
for the supply of our wants ; but praise and thanks- 
giving is a duty which depends upon our gratitude 
and ingenuity ; and nothing sooner wears off, than 
the sense of kindness and benefits. We are very 
apt to forget the blessings of God, not so mucb 
from a bad memory, as from a bad nature ; to for- 
get the greatest blessings, the continuance whereof 
should continually put us in mind of them, the 
blessings of our beings. So God»complains of his 
people; (Deut. xxxii. 18.) '' Of the God that formed 
thee thou bast been unmindful:** the dignity and' 
excellency of our being above all the crieatures of 
this visible world ; (Job xxxv. 10, 11.)" None saitb. 
Where is God my Maker, who teacheth us mdre 
than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser 
than the fowls of heaven ;" the daily comforts and 
blessings of our lives, which we can continually ren 



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49 

ceive, without almost ever looking up to the hand 
that gives them. So God complains by the prophet 
Hosea ; (chap, ii, 6.) *^ She knew not that I gave her 
corta, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver 
and gold." And is it not shameful to see how, at 
the most plentiful fables, the giving of God thanks 
is aknost grown out 'of fashion ? as if men were 
ashamed to own from whence these blessings came. 
When thanks is all God expects from tis, can we 
not afford to give him that ? " Do ye thus requite 
the Lord, foolish people and unwise?** It is just with 
God to take away his blessings from us, if we deny 
him this easy tribute of praise and thanksgiving. 

It is a sign men are un6t for heaven, when they 
are backward to that which is the proper work and 
employment of the blessed spirits above: therefore, 
as ever we hope to come thither, let us begin this 
work here, and inure ourselves to that which will 
be the great business of all eternity : let us, with the 
four^and-twenty elders in the Revelation, " fall 
down before hina that sits on the throne, and wor- 
ship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast our 
crowns before the throne," (that is, cast ourselves) 
and ascribe all glory to God, saying, ^\Thou art 
worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and 
power ; for thou hast made all things, and for thy 
pleasure they are, and were created.'* 

To him, therefore, the infinite and inexhaustible 
fountain of goodness, the Father of mercies, and the 
God of all consolation, who gave us such excellent 
beings, having made us little lower than the angels, 
and crowned us with glory and honour; who hath 
been pleased to stamp upon us the image of his 
own goodness, and thereby made us partakers of a 
Divine nature, communicating to us not only of the 



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eflfects of his gooduesB, but^ iu sooie mtMure and de^ 
gree, of the perfection itself; to Him, wba gives us all 
things richly to enjoy which pertain to life and god* 
liness, ainJ hath made such abundant pro? ision not 
only for our comfort and convenience in this present 
life, but for our unspeakable happiness to all eter- 
nity ; to Him who designed tins happiness to us from 
all eternity, and whose mercy and goodness to os 
endures forever; who, when by wilful transgress 
sious and disobedience we bad plunged ourselves, 
into a state of sin and misery, aad bad forfeited that 
happiness which we were designed te^ was pleased 
to restore us to a new capacity of it, by sending bk 
only Son to take our nature, with the miseries and 
infirmities of it, to live among us, and to die for us : 
in a word, to Him who is infinitely good to wi, not 
only contrary to our deserts, but beyond our hopes; 
who renews his mercy upon us every morning, and 
is patient, thoi^h we provoke him every day ; who 
preserves and provides for us, and spares us con- 
tinually; who is always willing, always watchful, 
and never weary to do us good : to Him be aU 
glory and honour, adoration and praise, love and 
obedience, now and for ever. 



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SERMON CXLVIL 

THE MERCY OF OOD. 

The Lmtd i$ Ung^^sujffiring, and qf great wertjf. 
Numb. xiv« 18. 

I JiA.vs eonaidered God's goodness in general. There 
ve two eminent branches of it — his patience and 
ioercy. The patience of God is his goodness to 
them that are gu^ty in deferring or moderating their 
deserved punisbmeot: the mercy of God is his 
goodness to them that are or may be miserable. It 
is the last of these two I design to discourse of at 
this time; in doing of which I shall inquire. 

First, What we are to understand by the mercy 
ofG^d. 

Seeoodly, Shew you that this perfection belongs 
to God. 

Thirdly, Consider the degree of it, that God is of 
great mercy. 

I First, What we are to understand by the mercy 
of God. 

I told you, it is his goodness to them that are in 
itiisery,.or liable to it; that is, that are in danger of 
it, or hare deserved it. It is mercy to prevent the 
misery that we are liable to, and which may be(al 
us, though it be not actually upon us. It is mercy 
to defer the misery that we deserve, or mitigate it; 
and this is, properly, patience and forbearance. It 
i& mercy to relieve those that are in misery, to sup- 
port or comfort them. It is mercy to remit the 



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52 

misery we deserve, and, by pardon and forgiveness, 
to remove and take away the obligation to punish- 
ment. 

Thus the mercy of God is usually, in Scripture, 
set forth to us by the affection of pity and compas- 
sion; which is an affection that causetb a sensible 
commotion and disturbance in us, upon the appre- 
hension of some great evil that lies upon another, or 
hangs over him. Hence it is that God is said, in 
Scripture, to be grieved and afflicted for the miseries 
of men; his bowels are said to sound, and his heart 
to turn within him. But though God is pleased in 
this manner to set forth his mercy and tenderness 
towards us, yet we must take heed how we clothe 
the Divine nature with the infirmities of human pas- 
sions. We must not measure the perfection of God 
by the expressions of bis condescension; and, be- 
cause he stoops to our weakness, level him to our 
infirmities. When God is said to pity us, we most 
take away the imperfection of his passion, the com-> 
motion and disturbance of it, and not imagine any 
such thing in God; but we are to conceive, that the? 
mercy and compassion of God, without producing 
the disquiet^ do produce the effects of the most sen^ 
sible pity. 

Secondly, That this perfection belongs to God. • 
All the arguments that 1 used to prove the good- 
ness of God, from the acknowledgment of natural- 
light, and from Scripture and reason, serve to prove 
that he is merciful; because the mercy of God is an 
eminent branch of bis goodness. I will only pro- 
duce some of those niany texts of Scripture which- 
attribute tiits perfection to God. (Exo^. xxxiv. 6.) 
" The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious." 
(Deut. iv. 31.) *• The Lord thy God is a merciful 



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53 

God." (2 Chrofi. xxxiv. 9.) '' The Lord your God 
is gracious and raercifnl." (Nebem. ix. 17.) " Ready 
to pardoQ, gracious and merciful." (Psal. xxv. 10.) 
^* All the paths of the Lord are mercy^" (Psal. Ixii. 
12.) " Unto thee, O Lord, belongetb mercy." (Psal. 
ciii, 8.) " Merciful and gracious." (Psal. cxxx. 7.) 
^V With the Lord there is mercy." And so (Jer. iii. 12. 
Joel ii. 13. Jonah iv. 2. Luke vi. 36.) ** Be ye 
therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful." 
The Scripture speaks of this as most natural to him. 
2 Cor. i. 3, he is called " the Father of mercies." 
But when hQ punisheth, he dotli, as it were, relin- 
quish his nature, and do a ** strange work." " The 
Lord will wait, that he may be gracious." (fsa. xxx. 
18.) God passeth by opportunities of punishing, but 
his mercy takes opportunity to displafy itself: '' He 
waits to be gracious." To afflict or punish is a work 
that God is unwilling to do, that he takes no plea- 
sure iiH (Lam. iii. 33.) ** He doth not afflict wil- 
lingly, nor grieve the children of men." But mercy 
is a work that he delights in; (Micah vii. 18.) ** He 
delighteth in mercy." When God. shews mercy, be 
does it with pleasure and delight; he is said to 
rejoice over his people, to do them good. Those 
attributes that declare God's goodness, as when he 
is said to be gracious or merciful, and long-suffer- 
ing, they shew what God is in himself, and delights 
to be: those which declare his wrath and severity, 
shew what he is upon pravocation, and the occasion 
of sin; not what he chooseth to be, but what we do, 
as it were, compel and necessitate him to be. 
. Thirdly, For the degree of it; That God is a 
God of great mercy. 

The Scripture doth delight to advance the mercy 
of God, and does use great variety of expression to 



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54 

inagmTy if t it ipeaksof the greatness of his mefec^^ 
(Numb. xiv. 19.) *« According unto the grestness of 
tbj mercy.'' (2 Ssm. xx\y. 14.) '' Let me fall iot^ 
the bands of the Lord, for his mercies are great.'' 
It is called an abundant mercy ; (1 Pet L 3.) ^' A<i- 
cording to his abundant mercy." (Psal. ciii. 8.) He 
is said to be ^ plenteous in mercy ;" and ** rich in 
mercy »" (Eph. ii. 4.) Psal. v. 6. he speslks of the 
multitude of God's mercies ; and of the variety of 
them. (Neliem. ix. 19.) ^* In thy manifoM merciw 
tliou forsakest them not." So many are they, that 
we are said to be surrounded and compassed about 
on every side with them. (Psal. ciii. 4.) *' Who 
crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender 
mercies." 

And yet further to set forth the greatness of tliem^ 
the Scripture useth all dimensions. Height ; (Psal. 
Ivii. 10.) " Thy laercy is great unto the heavens.'* 
Nay, higher yet; (Psal. cviii. 4.) "Thy mercy is 
great above the heavens." For the latitude and ex* 
tent of it, it is as large as the earth, and extends to 
all the creatures ; (Psal. cxix. 64.) "The earth, O 
Lord, is fiiU of thy mercy." (Psal. cxlv. 9.) " His 
tender mercies are over ail his works." For the 
length, or duration and continuance of it; (Exod. 
xxxiv. 7.) " Laying up mercy in store for thousands 
of generations," one after another. Nay, it is of a 
longer continuance: Psal. cxviii. it is several 
times repeated, that " his mercy endureth for ever." 

And to shew the intense degree of this affection of 
mercy, or pity, the Scripture useth several emphati- 
cal expressions to set it forth to os. The Scripture 
speaks of the tender mercies of God; (Psal. xxv. 
6.) " Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies." 
Yea, of the multitude of these; (Psal. li. 1.) *• Ac- 



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«DMU«g vinttt tbe muUitiud^ of thy tender fDorcMs 
hlfU;- out my tmnsgreHiJons." (Jam. v. 11.) ''The 
hor^ i» v^ry pitifuU aod of tender mercy/ They 
we called God'a bowek» which are the teodereet 
parU^and apt to yearn and stir in U3 when any aHeo- 
tiont of la?e and pity are excited ; (Isa. Ixiii. ld<) 

"^'^ Whwe is the soundingoflby bowels,, and of thy 
mercies towards me? are they restrained?*" (Lukje 
L T8.) ** Through the tender mercy of our God f 
9# it is in our translation : but, if we render it 
from the origbal, it ia, ^ through the bowels of 
the wenties of 6iir God.^ How doth God coiy- 
deacend, in those pathetical expressions, which i^ 
Hfifith concerning his people? (^Ho$. xi. &) ^How 
shall I give thee up, Ephraim ? how shall I deliver 
thee, Israel ? how shall I make thee as Admah ? how 
shall I set thee as Zeboim ? mine heart ia turned with<^ 
in me^ aod my repentings are kindled together/^ 
Nay, to express bis: tender aense ef our miseries and 
sufferings, he is represented as being aAicted with 
us, and bearing apart in our sufferings ; ^Isa. Ixiii« 
90 '' In all tfa^ aflictiona be was atticted." 

The compasaiona of God are coi»pared to the 
tenderest affections among men : to that of a fother 
towards bia children; (Psal. ciii. 13.) '* Like as a 
iather pitieth bis ckUdren, so the Lord pitieth theirr 
that fear him." Nay^ to the compassions of a mother 
towards her infiant; (Isa. xlix. Id.) ^^ Can a woman 
for^t her sucking child, that she should not have* 

- compa3sion on the son of her womb? Yea, she 
may," it is possible, though most unlikely : bu^ 
though a mother may turn^ unnatural, yet God can** 
not.be unmerciftiL 

In shorty the Seriptore doth every where magnify* 
the mercy of God, and speak of it with all possible 



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56 

advantage ; as if tbe Divine nature^ which doth in 
all perfections excel all others, did in this excel 
itself. The Scriptnre speaks of it as if God was 
wholly taken up with it, as if it was his constant 
exercise and employment, so that^ in comparison ef 
it, he doth hardly display any other excellency; 
(Psal. XXV. 10.) ** All the paths of the Lord are 
mercy :" as if, in this world, God had a design to 
advance his mercy above his other attributes. The 
mercy of God is now in the throne ; this is the day 
of mercy ; and God doth display it, many times, 
with a seeming dishonour to liis other attributes, his 
justice, and holiness, and truth. His justice ; this 
makes Job complain of tbe long life and prosperity 
of the wicked; (Job xxi. 7.) "Wherefore do the 
wicked live, yea, become old?''&c. His holiness; this 
makes the prophet expostulate with God, (Habak. 
i. 13.) '* Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, 
and canst not look on iniquity : wherefore lookest 
thou upon them that deal treacherously, and boldest 
thy tongue ?" &c. And the truth of Grod ; this makes 
Jonah complain, as if God's mercies were such as 
did luake some reflection upon his truth. (Jonah 
iv. 2.) 

But that we may have more distinct apprehen- 
sions of the greatness and number of God's mercies, 
I will distribute them into kinds, and rank them 
under several heads. It is mercy, to prevent those 
evils and miseries thitt we are liable to : it is mercy, 
to defer those evils that we have deserved, or to 
mitigate them : it is mercy, to support and comfort * 
Q6 when misery is upon. us; it is mercy, to deliver 
us from them : but the greatest m^rcy of all is, to 
remit the eyil and misery we have deserved, by 
pardon and foi^ivene^s, tp remove and take away 



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57 

the bbKgation to punishment. Ho that the merey 
of God may be reduced to these five heads: 

I. Prerenting^ mercy^. Many erils and miseries 
whtch we are liaUe to, God prevents them at a great 
distance ; and when they are coming towards im^ 
he stops them^ or turns them another way. The 
merciful providence of God, sind those fnvisible 
guards which protect us, do divert many evils from 
US, which fall upon others. We seldom take notice 
of God's preventing mercy ; we are not apt to he 
sensible hovv great a mercy it is to be freed from 
thoise straits and necessities, those pains and dis- 
eases of body, those inward racks and horrors whkfa 
others are pressed withal, and labour under. Whe» 
any evil or misery is upon us; wouW we not reckon 
it a mefcy to be rescued and delivered frotii it? 
And is it not a greater mercy that we never feh it? 
Does not that man owe more to his physician, who 
prevefnts his sickness and distemper, than he who, 
after the weakness and languishing, the pains and 
tortures of several months, is at length cured by 
him? 

II. Forbearing mercy,. And this is the patience 
of God, which consists in the deferring or mode* 
rating of our deserved punishment. Hence it is, that 
**slow to anger,** and *• of great mercy,* do so often 
go together. But this 1 shall speak to hereafter ist 
some particular discourses. 

III. Comforting mercy. (2 Cor. i. 3.) *' the 
Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.** 
The Scripture represents -God as very merciftil, i« 
comfortmg aiKl supporting those that fire aiUcted 
and cast down : hence are those expressions o# ** pet* 
ting his arms under us; bearing us up; speiking 
comfortably ; visiting us with his loving-kindness t^ 

VOL. VII. F 



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58 

which signifjr Gkni's mercifal regard to those vrho 
are in misery and distress. 

lY. His relieving mercy, in supplying those that 
are in want^ an4 delivering those that are in trouble. 
God doth, many times^ exercise men with trouble 
and afflictions, with a very gracious and merciful 
design, to prevent greater evils, which men would 
otherwise bring upon themselves. Afflictions are a 
merciful invention of heaven to do us that good, 
which nothing el^e can ; they awaken us to a sense 
of God, and of ourselves, to a consideration of the 
evil of our ways ; they make us to take notice of 
God, to seek him, and inquire after him. God doth, 
as it were, by afflictions, throw men upon their 
backs, to make them look up to heaven. (Hos. v. 
15.) ** In their affliction they will seek me early." 
(Fsal. Ixxviii. 34.) '* When he slew them, then they 
sought him, and they returned and inquired early 
after God." But God does not delight in this ; '* he 
^^ doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children 
of men." When afflictions have accomplished their 
work, and obtained their end upon us, God is very 
ready to remove them, and command deliverance 
for us ; (Isa. liv. 7, 8.) ** For a small moment have I 
forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather 
thee. In a little wrath I hid my f^ce from thee for 
a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have 
mercy on thee, saith the Lord, thy redeemer." 

V. Pardoning mercy. And here the greatness 
and fulness of God's mercy appears, because our 
dins are great : (Psal. Ix^viii. 38.) *' Being full of 
compassion, he forgave their iniquity." And the 
multitude of God's mercies because our sins are 
many ; (Psal. li. I.) " Have m^rcy upon me, O God, 
according to thy loving-kindness ; according unto 



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59 

the multitode of thy tender mercies bbt out uy 
transgressions." (Exod. xxxiv. 7.) He is said •• to 
pardon iniquity, transgression, and sin." How mani» 
fold are his mercies, to forgive all our sins, of what 
kind soever ! The mercy of God to us in pardoning 
our sins, is matter of astonishment and admiration ; 
(Mic. vii. 18.) " Who is a God like unto thee, that 
pardoneth iniquity!" But especially, if we consider 
by what means our pardon is procured ; by trans* 
ferring our guilt upon the most innocent person, the 
Son of God, and making him to bear our iniquities^ 
and to suflTer the wrath of God which was due to us. 
The admirable contrivance of God's mercy appears 
in this dispensation ; this shews the riches of his 
grace, that he should be at so much cost to purcha«i 
our pardon ; '^ Not with corruptible things^ as silver 
and gold, but with the precious blood of his own 
Son." (Eph. i. 6, 7.) " To the praise of the glory of 
his grace, wherein be hath made us accepted in the 
Beloved ; in whom we have redemption through his 
blood, the forgiveness of sins» according to the riches 
of his grace." 

Having dispatched the three particulars I pro- 
posed to be spoken to, I shall shew what use we 
ought to make of this Divine atjtribute. 

Use 1. We ought with. thankfulness to acknow* 
ledge and admire the great mercy of God to us. 
Let us view it in all its dimensions ; the height, and 
length, and breadth of it: in all the variety and 
kinds of it ; the preventing mercy of God to many 
of us. Those miseries that lie upon others, it is 
mercy to us that we escaped then^ It is mercy that 
spares us: ** It is of the Lord's mercies that we are 
not consumed, and because his compassions ftiil not." 
It is mercy that mitigates our punishment, and makes 

f2 



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60 

it £all b«low the desert of our sios. It is mercy that 
comforts and supports us under any of those evils 
that He upon us, and th(^t rescues and delivers us 
flxim thera ; which way soever we look, we are en- 
compassed with the mercies of God ; they '^ com- 
pass us about on every side; we are crowned with 
loving-kindness* and tender mercies/' It is D[iercy 
that feeds us, and clothes us, and that preserves us. 
But, above all, we should thankfully acknowledge 
and admire the pardoning mercy of God ; (PsaK 
ciiu 1, 2, 3,) where David does, as it were, muster 
up the mercies of God, and make a catalogue of 
them; he sets the pardoning mercy in the front; 
'' Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within 
■le bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, 
and forget not all his benefits ; who forgiveth all 
thy iniquities." 

K we look into ourselves, and consider our own 
temper and disposition, how void of pity and bowels * 
we are, how cruel, and hard-hearted, and insolent, 
and revengeful ; if we look abroad into the world, 
and Bee liow " full the earth is of the habita- 
tions of cruelty," we shall admire the mercy of God 
more, and think ourselves more beholden to it. 
How many things must concur to make our hearts 
tender, and melt our spirits, and stir our bowels, to 
make us pitiful and compassionate? We seldom 
pity any, naless they be actually in misery ; nor all 
such neither, uqless the misery they lie under be 
very great ; nor then neither, unless the person ths)t 
suffers be nearly related, and we be some ways con- 
eemed io hiis sufferings ; yea, many times not then 
neither liipon a gener^uq account, but as we are 
90010 ways obliged by interest aqd self-love^ and a 
d»r r^^rd to ourselves^ when we have suffered the 



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61 

like ourselves, and liave learned to pity otbors' by 
oar own saflferings, or wi^n in danger or prdbability 
to be in the like condition ourselves ; so many mo- 
tives and obligations are necessary to awaken and 
stir up this affection in us* But God is merciful 
and pitiful to us out of the mere goodness of his na^ 
ture ; for few of these motives and considerations 
can have any place in him. This affection of pity 
and tenderness is stirred up in God by the mere pre* 
sence.of the object, without any other inducements 
The mercy of God, many times, doth not stay till we 
be actually miserable, but looks forward a great way, 
and pities us at a great distance, and prevents our 
misery. God doth not only pity us in great cala« 
roities, but cotisiders those lesser evils that are upon 
us. €rod is merciful to us, when we have deserved 
all the evils that are upon us ; and far greater, when 
we are less than the least of all his mercies, when 
we deserved all the misery that is upon us, and have 
with violent hands pulled it upon our own heads, 
and have been the authors and procurers of it tO 
ourselves. Though God, in respect of his nature, 
be at an mfinite distance from us ; yet his mercy is 
neiar to us, and he cannot possibly have any sd^ in- 
terest in it. The Divine nature is not liable to want, 
or injory, or suffering ; he is secure of his own hap- 
piness and fulness, and can neither wish the enlarge- 
ibeiit, nor fear the impairment of his estate ; he can 
never stand in need of pity or relief from us, or any 
other, and yet he pities us. 

Now if we consider the vast difference of this af- 
fection in God and us, how tender his mercies are, 
and bow sensible his bowels ; and yet we who have 
so many arguments to move us to pity, how hard our 
hearts are, and how uriapt to relent; as if we were 



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62 

bom of the rock, and were the pffispring of the 
nether mill-stone: sure, .when we duly consider 
this, we cannot but admire the mercy of €k)d ! 

How cruel are we to creatures below us ! with 
hdTw little remorse can we kill a flea, or tread upon 
a |Worm ! partly because we are secure that they 
cannot hurt us, nor revenge themselves upon us ; and 
partly because they are so despicable in our eyes, 
and so far below us, that they do not fall under the 
consideration of our pity. Look upward, proud 
man ! and take notice of Him who is above thee : 
thou didst not make the creatures below thee, as 
God did ; there is but a finite distance between thee 
and the meanest creatures ; but there is an infioite 
distance between thee and God. Man is a iiamie of 
dignity, when we compare ourselves with other crea» 
tures; but compared to God, we are worms, and 
not men; yea, we are nothing, yea, less than nothing, 
and vanity. How great then is the mercy of God, 
which regards us, who are so far below him, which 
takes into consideration such inconsiderable no- 
things as we are ! We may say with David, (Psal. 
viii. 4.) ** Lord, what k man, that thou art mindful 
of him ? or the son of man, that thou visitest him ?" 
and with Job, (chap. vii. 17.) <^ What is man, that 
thou should^st magnify him, and that thou shouldest 
set thine heart upon him ?" 

And theo, how hard do we find it to forgive those 
who have injured us ! If any one have offended, or 
provoked us, how hard are we to be reconciled! 
how mindful of an injury! how do anger and re- 
venge boil within us ! bow do we upbraid men with 
their faults ! what vile and low submission do we 
require of them, before we will receive them into far 
vour, and grant them peace ! And if we forgive once^ 



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63 

we think that is much ; bat if an offence and provo- 
cation be renewed often, we are inexorable. Even tbe 
disciples of our Saviour, after he had so emphatically 
taught them forgiveness, in the petition of the Lord's 
Prayer, yet they had very narrow spirits as to this ; 
{Matt, xviii. 21.) Peter comes to him, and asks him, 
^* How often shall my brother sin against me, and I 
forgive him? till seven times?" he thought that was 
much : and yet we have great obligations to pardon^ 
ing and forgiving others, because we are obnoxious 
to Grod, and one another : we shall many times stand 
in need of pardon from Grod and men ; and it may 
be our own case ; and when it is, we are too apt to 
be very indulgent to ourselves, and conceive good 
hopes of the mercy of others ; we would have our 
ignorance, and inadvertencies, and mistakes^ and all 
occasions, and temptations, and provocations, con- 
sidered ; and when we have done amiss, upon sub- 
mission and acknowledgment of our fault, we would 
be received into favour : but God, who is not at all 
liable to us, how ready is he to forgive I If we con- 
fess our sins to him, he is merciful to forgive : he 
pardons freely ; and such are the condescensions of 
his mercy, though he be the party offended, yet he 
offers pardon to us, and beseeches us to be recon- 
ciled : if we do but come towards him, he runs to 
meet us, as in the parable of the prodigal, (Luke xv. 
20.) What reason have we then thankfully to ac- 
knowledge and admire the mercy of God to us I 

Use 2. The great mercy of God to us, should stir 
up in us shame and sorrow for sin. The judgments 
of Grod may break us; but the consideration of 
God's mercy, should rather melt and dissolve us into 
tears: (Luke vii. 47.) the woman that washed 
Christ's feet with her tears, and wiped them with 



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her baeirp the account that our Saviour gives of the 
great atfectiou that she expressed to biiu, was» ^^ she 
loved mucb^ because much was forgiven her;*' and 
she grieved much, because much was forgiven her. 

£specially« we sbould sorrow for those sins which 
have been committed by us after God's mercies re- 
ceived. Mercies after sins should tocich our hearts, 
and make us relent : it should grieve us that w« 
should offend and provoke a God so gracious aud 
merciful, so slow to anger, and so ready to forgive : 
but sin against mercies, and after we have received 
them, is attended with one of the greatest aggrava- 
tions of sin. And as mercy raises the guUt of our 
sing, so it should raise our sorrow for them. No con- 
sideration is more apt to work upon human nature, 
than that of kindness ; and the greater mercy has 
been shewed to us« the greater our .sins, and the 
greater cause of sorrow for them ; contrark^s do il- 
lustrate, and set off one another ; in the great good- 
ness and mercy of God to us, we see the great evil 
of our sins against bim. 

Every sin has the nature of rebellion and disobe- 
dience; but sins against mercy have ingratitude in 
tbem. Whenever we break the laws of God, we 
rebel against our sovere^ ; but as we sin against 
the mercies of God, we injure our benefactor. Thi^ 
makes our sio to be horrid, and astonishing ; (Isa. i. 
. %) ** Hear, O heavens, an^l give ear, O earth : for 
the Lord bath spoken, I have nourished and brought 
lip children, and they have rebelled against ine." All 
the mercies of God are aggravations of our sins ; 
<2 Sam. xii. 7, 8, 9.) ''And Nathan said to Pavid, 
Thou ^ the toan. Thus saith the Lord God of 
Israel, ) anointed thee king over Israel, and 1 de- 
livered thee 04)t q{ the hs^nds of ^^aul ; and I gave 



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§5 

t|iee tby master's hoase, aad thymaster'^ wives into 
thy bosouij and gave thee the house of Israel and of 
Judah ; and if that had been too liltle» i would 
moreover have given unto thee such and such things. 
Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of 
the Lord, to do evil in his sight?" God reckons up 
all his mercies, and from them aggravates David's 
sin ; (1 Kings xi. 9.) he takes notice of all the un- 
kind returns that we make to his mercy : and it is 
thp worst temper in the worlds not to be wroqght 
upon by kindness* not to he melted by mercy : oo 
greater evidence of a wicked heart, than that Uie 
mercies of God have no effect npon it ; (Isa. xxvi, 
10.) " Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will 
he not learn righteousness." 

Use 3. Let us imitate the qaerciful nature of God. 
This branch of God's goodness is very proper for 
our imitation. The general exhortation of our 
Saviour^ (Matt. v. 48.) ** Be ye therefore perfect, 
even aayour Father which is in heaven is perfect f 
is more particularly expressed by St. Luke, (chap, 
vi. 36.) " Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father 
also is merciful" Men affect to make images^ and 
impossible, representations of God ; bmt, as Seneca 
saith, Crede Deos^ cum propiUi essent^ Jictiles ftds9e* 
We may draw this im^ge and likeness of God ; we 
may be gracious and merciful as he is« Christ, who 
was the express image of Jus Father, bis whole life 
and undertaking was a continued work of mercy ; 
he *' went about doing good'* to the souls of men, by 
preaching the gospel to them ; and to the bodies of 
wen, in healing aU manner of diseases : there is no^ 
thing that he recommends more to us, in bis gospel, 
than this spirit and temper; (Matt. v. 7.) V Blessed 
are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." How 



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many parables doth he use, to set forth the mercy of 
God to us, with a design to draw us to the imitation 
of it? The parable of the prodigal ; of the good Sama- 
ritan ; of the servant to whom he forgave ten thou- 
sand talents. We should imitate God in this, in being 
tender and compassionate to those that are in misery. 

This is a piece of natural, indispensable religion^ 
to which positive and instituted religion must give 
way. (Hosea vi. 6.) " I desired mercy, and not 
sacrifice;'* which is twice cited and used by our 
Saviour. (Micah vi. 8.) " He hath shewed thee, O 
man, what it is that the Lord thy God requires of 
thee; to do justice, and love mercy, and to walk 
humbly with thy God."* 

This is always one part of the description of a 
good man, that he is apt to pity the miseries an4 
necessities of others ; (Psal. xxxvii. 26.) " He is 
ever merciful, and lendeth.'' He is far from cruelty, 
not only to men, but even to the brute creatures ; 
(Prov. xii. 10.) " A righteous man regardeth the 
life of his beast." There is nothing more contrary to 
the nature of God, than a cruel and savage dispo- 
sition, not to be affected with the miseries and suf- 
ferings of others : how unlike is this to "the Father 
of mercies, and the God of consolation !" When we 
can see cruelty exercised, and our bowels not to be 
stirred within us, nor our hearts be pricked ; how 
unlike is this to God, who is very pitiful, and of ten- 
der mercies I but to rejoice at the miseries of others, 
this is inhuman and barbarous. Hear how God 
threatens Edom for rejoicing at the miseries of his 
brother Jacob, (Obad. ver. 10 — 14.) But to delight 
to make others miserable, and to aggravate their suf- 
ferings ; this is devilish, this is the temper of hell^ 
and the very spirit of the destroyer. 



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It becotneB man, above all other creatures, to be 
merciful, who hath had such ample and happy ex- 
perience of God's mercy to him, and doth still con- 
tinually stand in need of mercy from God. Grod 
hath been very merciful to us. Had it not been for 
the tender mercies of God to us, we had all of us» 
long since, been miserable. Now as we have re- 
ceived mercy from God, we should shew it to others* 
The apostle usetli this as an argument why we 
should relieve those that are in misery and want^ 
because we have had such experience of the 
mercy and love of God to as ; (1 John iii. 16, 17.) 
" Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he 
laid down his life for us. But whoso hath this 
world's good, and seeth his brother have need, &c. 
how dwelleth the love of God in him?" That 
man hath no sense of the mercy of God abiding 
upon his heart, that is not merciful to his brother. 
And it is an argument why we should forgive one 
another; (£ph. iv. 32.) '' Be ye kind one to ano- 
ther, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as 
God for Christ's sake hath foi^ven you.** (Chap. v. 
1.) " Be ye, therefore, followers of God, as dear chil* 
dfen.*' (Col. iii. 12, 13.) " Put on therefore (as the 
elect of God, holy and beloved) bowels of mercies, 
kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suf- 
fering ; forbearing one another, and forgiving one 
another, if any man have a quarrel against any: 
even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye." 

And we continually stand in need of mercy both 
from God and man. We are liable one to another; 
and in the change of human affairs, we may be all 
subject to one another by turns, and stand in need 
of one another's pity and compassion ; and we must 
expect, that ** with what measure we mete to others. 



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-with the same it shall be measilkred to us again." 
To restrain the cruelties, aod check the insolences 
of men, God has so ordered, in his providence, that 
Tery often, in this world, men's cruelties ^' return 
upon their own heads, and thdr violent dealings 
upon their own pates." Bajazet meets with a Tar 
merlane. 

But if men were not thus liable to one another, 
we all stand in need of mercy frow God. If we be 
merciful to others in s^uffering, and forgiving tbein 
Ihat h^ve injured us, God will be so to us, he will 
pardon our sins to us : (Prov. xvL 6.) ** By mercy 
and truth iniquity is purged." (2 Sam. xxii. 26.) 
** With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful." 
(Prov. xiv. 21.) *' He that hath mercy on the poor, 
happy is he." (Prov. xxi. 21.) " He that foUoweth 
a£ber righteousness and mercy findeth life." (Matt, 
vi. 14.) *' If ye forgive men their trespassed, your 
Jieavenly Father will also forgive you." But, on the 
other hand, if we be malicious and revengeful, aod 
implacable to those that have offended us, and in- 
exorable to those who desire to be received to fa- 
vour, and cruel to those who lie at our mercy, hard- 
hearted to them that are in necessity ; what caa we 
expect but that the mercy of God will leave us, that 
be will '* foi^et to be gracious, and shut up in ang^ 
his tender mercy." (Matt. vi. 15.) "If ye forgive 
not men their • trespasses, neither will your Father 
forgive your trespasses." That is a dreadful pas- 
sage: (St. James ii. 13.) '' He shall have judgment 
.without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy," How 
angry is the lord with the servant who was so ihex- 
orable to his fellow-servant^^ after he had forgiven 
him so great a debt, as you find in the parable; 
(Matt xviii. 24.) he owed him ten thousand talente. 



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€9 

and, upon his suhuitsskm and entreaty to have |Mu^ 
tieoce with him, he was Dioved with cotnpasskm^ 
afkt lQ09ed him, and forgave fata ail : but no soofter 
had this favour been done to htn hj his lord, bilt,: 
going forth, he meets his Altow-Bervant, who owed 
a soaatl, inconsiderable debt, a hundred pence ; be 
lay a hands on him and takes him by the throat, and 
roundly demands payment of him : he falk down 
at hia feet, and aaeth the same form of supplfoation 
that he had used ^ to bis lord; but he rejects his 
request, and puts him in prison. Now what saith 
the lord to him : (ver. 32 — 34.) ** O thou wicked 
servant^ I forgave thee all that debt, becamse thou 
desiredstme: shouldest not thou also bave bad 
compassion on thy fellow-eervant^ even as 1 bad 
pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and de- 
livered him to the tormentors, until he should pay all 
that w£(8 due unto him/' Now what applicatioa 
doth our Savioor make of this ? (Ver. 8&-> " Sd 
likewise ^hsJI my heavenly Father do also unto 
you,, if ye, from your hearts, forgive not every one 
his brotber their treapasses/' 

Ood*s readiness to forgive us should be a powei^ 
ful motive and argument to us to forgive others. 
The greatest injuries that we can suffer from men, 
if we compare them io the sips that we commit 
against God, they bear no proportioa to them, nei- 
ther in weight nor number ; they are but as a 
hundred pence to ten thousand tale&ts. If wfe 
would be like God,, we should foiigive^ the greatest 
iajuries; he pardoneth our sins,, though tbey be 
exceeding great ; many iiijuffies, thoiugb offence^^be 
rei^wed, and provocations multiplied ^ for so Gdd 
doth tP us : ^^ He pardoneth iniquity, tranagression, 
and sin.'' (Exod. Xxm. 7.) (Isa. Iv. 7.) " He will 



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bw9e mercy, he will abundantly pardon.'' We 
would not bare God only to forgive ns seven times, 
bat seventy times seven, as often as we offend him ; 
so should we foi^ive our brother. 
. And we should not be backward to this work ; 
God is " ready to forgive us." (Nebem. ix. 17.) And 
we should do it heartily, not only in word, when we 
retain malice in our hearts ; and while we say we 
foi^ve, carry on a secret design in our hearts of 
revenging ourselves when we have opportunity, but 
we should, ** from our hearts, forgive every one ;" 
for so God doth to us, who, when he forgives us, 
** casts our iniquities behind his back, and throws 
them into the bottom of the sea, and blots out our 
transgression, so as to remember our iniquity no 



more." 



If we do not thus, every time we put up the pe- 
tition to God, ** Forgive us our trespasses, as we 
forgive them that trespass against us," we do not 
pray for mercy, but for judgment ; we invoke his 
wrath, and do not put up a prayer, but a dreadful 
imprecation against ourselves; we pronounce the 
sentence of our own condemnation, and importune 
God not to forgive us. 

Use 4. If the mercy of God be so great, this may 
comfort us against despair. Sinners are apt to be 
dejected, when they consider their un worthiness, 
the nature and number of their sins, and the many 
heavy aggravations of them ; they are apt to say with 
Cain, that ** their sin is greater than can be forgiven." 
But do not look only upon thy sins, but upon the 
mercies of God. Thou canst not be too sensible of 
the evil of «in, and of tbe desert of it; but whilst we 
aggravate our sins, w« must not lessen the saercies 
of God. When we consider the multitude of our 



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71 

sins, we must coDsider also the multiiode of God's 
tender mercies : we have been great sinDers, and 
God is of great mercy ; we have multiplied our pro* 
vocations, and he multiplies to pardon. 

Do but thou put thyself in a capacity of mercy, 
by repenting of thy sins, and forsaking of them, and 
thou hast no reason to doubt but the mercy of God 
will receive thee : " If we confess our sins, he is 
merciful and faithful to forgive them." If we bad 
offended man, as we have done God, we might de- 
spair of pardon ; but it is God, and not man, that 
we have to deal with ; and *' his ways are not as 
our ways, nor his thoughts as our thoughts : but as 
the heavens are high above the earth, so are, his 
ways above our ways, and his thoughts above our 
thoughts." 

We cannot be more injurious to. God than by 
hard thoughts of him, as if fury were in him, and, 
when we have provoked him, he were not to be ap- 
peased ancj reconciled to us. We disparage the 
goodness and truth of God, when we distrust those 
gracious declarations which he has made of his 
mercy and goodness; if we do not think that he 
doth heartily pity and compassionate sinners, and 
really desire their happiness. Doth not he conde- 
scend so low as to represent himself afflicted for the 
miseries of men, and to rejoice in the conversion of 
a sinner? And shall not we believe that he is in 
good earnest? Doth Christ weep ov#r impenitent 
sinners, because *^ they will not know the things of 
their peace?" and canst thou think he will not 
pardon thee upon thy repentance? Is he grieved 
that men will undo themselves, and will not be 
saved ? and canst thou think that he is unwilling 
to forgive? We cannot honour and glorify God 



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72 

more, thaD by entertaining great tbongfats of hi« 
meiH^y. As we are said to glorify God by oar re^ 
pentance, because thereby we acknowledge God's 
holiness and justice, so we glorify him by believing 
his mercy, because we conceive a right opinion of 
his goodness and truth ; we set to our seal, that 
God is merciful and true: (Psal. cxlvii. 11.) it is 
said, that '' God takes pleasare in them that hope 
in his mercy." As he delights in mercy, so in our 
acknowledgments of it ; that sinners should con* 
ceive great hopes of it, and beHeve him to be what 
he is. Provided thou dost submit to the terms of 
God's mercy, thou hast no reason to despah- of it r 
and he that thinks that his sins are more or greater 
than the mercy of God can pardon, must think that 
there may be more evil in the creature than there is 
goodness in God. 

Use d. By way of caution s^inst the presump^ 
tuous sinner. If there be any that trespass upon 
the goodness of God, and presume to. encourage 
themselves in sin, upon the hopes of his mercy ; let 
sucb know that God is just, as welf as merciful. 
A God of all mercy is an idol, such a God as men 
set up in their own imaginations, but not the true 
God whom the Scriptures describe : to such per- 
sons the Scripture describes him after another man^ 
ner : (Nahum i. 2.) *• God is jealoits ; the Lord re^ 
Tengeth, and is furious ; the Lord will take ven« 
geance on Ms adversaries, and reserveth wrath (6t 
his enemies.'* If any man abuse the mercy of God; 
to ** the strengthening of himself in his own wickerf- 
ness, and bless himself in his heart,, saying, I shall 
have peace, though I walk in the imagination of 
mine heart, and add drunkenness to thirst; the 
Lord will not spare bim, but the anger of the Lord 



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75 

and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and 
all the curses that are written in this book shall lie 
-upon him, and the Lord will blot out his name from 
under heaven." (Deut. xxix. 19, 20.) 

Though it be the nature of God to be merciful, 
yet the exercise of his mercy is regulated by his 
wisdom ; he will not be merciful to those that de- 
spise his mercy, to those that abuse it, to those that 
are resolved to go on in their sins to tempt his 
mercy, and make bold to say, ** Let us sin that 
grace may abound." God designs his mercy for 
those that are prepared to receive it ; (Isa. Iv. 7.) 
'' Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrigh- 
teous man his thoughts, and turn unto the Lord, 
and he will have mercy, and to our God, for he will 
abundantly pardon." The mercy of God is an 
enemy to sin, as well as his justice ; and it is no 
where offered to countenance sin, but to convert the 
sinner; and is not intended to encourage our im- 
penitency, but our repentance. God hath no where 
said that he will be merciful to those who, upon the 
score of his mercy, are bold with him, and presume 
to offeud him ; but ** the mercy of the Lord is upon 
them that fear him, and keep his covenant, and re^ 
member his commandments to do them." There is 
forgiveness with him, ** that he may be feared," but 
not that he may be despised and affronted. This is 
to contradict the very end of God's mercy, which is, 
to '* lead us to repentance," to engage us to leave 
our sins, not to encourage us to continue in them. 

Take heed, then, of abusing the mercy of God : 
we cannot provoke the justice of God more, than 
by presuming upon his mercy. This is the time of 
God's mercy ; use this opportunity : if thou neglect- 
est it, a day of justice and vengeance is coming; 

VOL. VII. G 



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74 

(Ropi* iu 4> «>0 '' De8pite8t thou the riches of hid 
gOodQe8S» and forbearaDce^ aod long sufferings not 
knowing that the goodness of God leads to repentr 
ance? and treasurest up unto thyself wrath against 
the dny of wrath, and the revelation of the righteous 
judgment of God ?" Now is the manifestation of 
God's meroy; but there is a time a coming, when 
the righteous judgment of God will be revealed 
against those who abuse his mercy, " not knowing 
that the 'goodness of God leadeth to repentance." 
To think that the goodness of God was intended 
for any other end than to take us off from sin, is a 
gtOGH and affected ignorance that will ruin us ; and 
they who draw any conclusion from the mercy of 
God» which may harden them in their sins, they are 
such as the prophet speaks of; (Isa. xxvii. 11.) 
** A people of no understanding, therefore be that 
made them will not save them ; and he that foriaed 
them will shew them no favour.** Merely itself will 
rejoice in the r^n of those that abuse it, and it will 
aggravate their condemnation. There is no person 
towards whom €rod will be n^re severely just, than 
towards such. The justice of God, exasperated and 
set oo by his injured and abused mercy, like a 
razor set in oil> will have the keener edge, add be 
the sharper for its smoothness. Those that have 
made the mercy of God their enemy, must expect 
the worst his justice can do unto them. 



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SERMON CXLVIIL 

THE PATIENCE OP GOD. 

The Lard is not slack concerning his promise^ as 
some men count slackness ; but is long-suffering to 
ns-wardy not willing that any should petHsh, but 
that all should come to repentance. — 2 Pet« iii. 9. 

Ij^ the beginpiog of this chapter, the apostle put$ 
the Christianiiy to whom be writes, ia miod of the 
predictions of the ancie'nt prophets^ and of the 
apostles of our I^orc) and Saviour, coDcerniog the 
gjeneral judgment of the world, which by many 
(and, perhaps, by the apostles themselves) had been 
tbo^ght to be very near, and that it would presently 
follow the destruction of Jerusalem ; but he tells 
ihemf that before that, thene would arise a certain 
secjt, or sort of men, that would deride the expecta- 
IpOQ q{ a future judgnpient, designing, probably, the 
Carpocratians (a branch of that large sect of the 
Gnostics), of whom St Austin expressly says, 
** T^at they denied the resurrection, and, conse- 
quently, a future judgment." These St. Peter calls 
scofferi^, (ver. 3, 4.) *' Knowing ibis firsl, that there 
shaH come in the last days scoffers, waUkwg after 
their own lusts, and saying. Where is the promise 
of his coming?" The word is inr^yy^XUf which sig- 
nifies a declaration in general, whether it be by way 
of promise or threatening. What is become of that 
declaration of Christ, so frequently repeated in the 
gospel, concerning his coming to judgment? ** Fj^r 

G 2 



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76 

since the fathers fell asleep/' or, saring that the 
fathers ve fallen asleep, except only that men die, 
and one generation succeeds another, ** all things 
continue as they were from the creation of the 
world ;" that id, the world continues still as it was 
from the beginning, and there is no sign of any such 
change and alteration as is foretold. To this he 
answers two things : 

1. That these scoffers, though they took them- 
selves to be wits, did betray great ignorance, both of 
the condition of the world, and of the nature of 
God : they talked very ignorantly concerning the 
world, when they said, *^ all things continued as 
they were from the creation of it," when so remark- 
able a change had already happened, as the de- 
struction of it bjT water ; and therefore, the predic- 
tion concerning the destruction of it by fire, before 
the. great and terrible day of judgment, was no 
ways incredible. And they shewed themselves, 
likewise, very ignorant of the perfection of the 
Divine nature; to which, being eternally the same, 
a thousand years and one day are all one: and 
if God make good his word some thousands of 
years hence, it will make no sensible difference 
concerning his eternal duration ; it being no mat- 
ter when a duration begins, which is never to 
have an end ; (ver. 8.) " Be not ignorant of this 
one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thou- 
sand years, and a thousand years as one day." This, 
it seems, was a common saying among the Jews, 
to signify, that to the eternity of God, no finite du- 
ration bears any proportion; and therefore, with 
regard to eternity, it is all one whether it be a thou- 
sand years, or one day. The Psalmist hath an ex- 
pression much to the same purpose ; (Psal. xc. 4.) 



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*' For a thousand years in thy sight are but as y&h 
terday, Mrhen it is past, and as a watch in the night." 
And the son of Sirach likewise, (£cclus« xviii. 10.) 
*' As a drop of water to the sea, and as a grain of sand 
to the sea-shore, so are a thousand years to the days 
of eternity." 

The like expression we meet with in heathen 
writers ; " To the gods no time is long," saith Pythar 
goras : and Plutarch, *' The whole space of a man's 
life^ to the gods, is as nothing." And in his excel- 
lent discourse of the slowness of the Divine ven- 
geance (the very argument St. Peter is here upon), 
he hath this passage, ** that a thousand, or ten thou- 
sand years, are but as an indivisible point to an in- 
finite duration." And therefore, when the judg- 
ment is to be eternal, the delay of it, though it were 
for a thousand years, is an objection of no force, 
against either the certainty, or the terror of it ; for, 
to eternity, all time is equally short ; and it matters 
not when the punishment of sinners begins, if it 
shall never have an end. 

2.' But because the distance between the declara- 
tion of a future judgment, and the coming of it, 
though it be nothing to God, yet it seemed long to 
them ; therefore he gives such an account of it, as 
doth not in the least impeacii the truth and faith- 
fulness of God, but is a clear argument and demon- 
stration of his goodness. Admitting what they said 
to be true, that God delays judgment for a great 
while, yet this gives no ground to conclude that 
judgment will never be; but it shews the great 
goodness of God to ^nners, that he gives them so 
long a space of repentance, that so they may pre- 
vent the terror of that day, whenever it comes, and 
escape that dreadful ruin, which will certainly over- 



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78 

take, sooner or later, atl impenitent sinners : " the 
Lord is not slack concerning his promise,** that is, 
as to the declaration which he hath made of a fa- 
tnre judgment, "as some men count slackness;" that 
in, as if the delay of judgment were an argument it 
would never come. This is a false inference from 
the delay of punishment, and an ill interpretation 
of the goodness of God to sinners, who bears long 
with them, and delays judgment, on purpose to give 
men time to repent, and, by repentaiice, to prevent 
their own eternal ruin : ** God is not slack concern- 
ing his promise^ as some men count slackness ; but is 
long-suffering to us ward, not willing that any should 
perish, but that all should come to repentance.** In 
the handling of these words, I shall do these three 
things : 

First, T shall consider. the patience and long-suf- 
fering of God, as it is an attribute and perfection of 
the Divine nature ; " God is long-suffering to us- 
ward.'* 

Secondly, I shall shew that the patience of God, 
and the delay of judgment, is no just ground why 
sinners should hope for impunity, as the scoffers, 
here foretold by the apostle, argued, that because 
our Lord delayeth his coming to judgment so long, 
therefore he would never come ; " God is not slack 
concerning his promise, as some men count slack- 
ness/' 

Thirdly, I will x:onsider the true reason of God*s 
patience and long-suffering towards mankind, which 
the apostle here gives ; ** He is long-suffering to us- 
ward, not willing that any sh^aild perish, but that 
all should come to repentance.'* 
. First, I will consider the patience and long-suf- 
fering of God towards mankind, as it is an attribute 



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and perfectkm of the Divine nature ; '' God is long- 
offering to US-ward.*" In the handling of this, 1 
shall do tbeae three things : 

L I shall shew what is meant by the patience and 
long-suffering of Grod. 

II. That this is a perfection of the Difioe natnra 

IIL I shall give some proof a&d deaMnstratipn 
of the great patience and long-suffering of God t6 
raoiikind. 

I. What is meaat by the patience aad longnraffer- 
ing of God. 

The Hebrew word 0ignifies> one that keeps his 
anger long, or that is long before he is angry. la 
tbe New Testament it is sometimes expressed by 
the word viro/uovi}, which signifies God's forbearance, 
and patient waiting for our repentance ; sometimes 
by the word avoyaf, which signifies God's holding in 
bis wrath and restraining himself from pdnishing ; 
and sometimes by ^mcpoOv^to, which aignifies the ex* 
tent of his patience, his long-suffering, and forbear- 
ing for a long time tbe punishment dne to ainoers. 

iSo that the patience of God is his goodness to 
sinners, in deferring or moderating the punishment 
due to them for their sins : the deierriag of doi* 
senred punishment in whole, or in part, which, if 
it be extended to a long time, it is propedy his 1ob|^ 
snflfering : and the moderating, as well as tbe defer- 
ring of the panishment due to stn, is in instance 
likewise of God's patience ; aad not only the delef- 
ring and oMderating of temporal puniabment, but 
tbe jidjourning of the eternal misery of sinners, ia a 
pHncipal instmce of God's {patience ; so that the 
patience of God takes in all that apaca of rqrtnt-^ 
anoe which God afibrda to aionera in thia life; aagr, 
all teflftporal judgaMnts aad afflictioiia wbich befal 



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ftinners in this life, and are abort of cuttiqg them 
off, and tiirniog them into hell, are comprehended 
in the patience of God. Whenever God. punisheth, 
it is of his great mercy and patience that we are not 
consumed, and because his compassions fail not. J 
proceed to the 

IL Second thing I proposed, which was to shew, 
that patience is a perfection of the Divine nature. 

It is not necessarily due to us, but it is due to the 
perfection of the Divine nature, and essentially be- 
longs to it : it is a principal branch of God's good- 
ness, which is the highest and most glorious per- 
fection of all other; and therefore we always find 
it in Scriptnre, in the company of God's milder and 
sweeter attributes. When God would give the most 
perfect description of himself, and, as he says to 
Moses, '^ make all his glory to pass before us," he 
usually does it by those attributes which declare 
his goodness ; and patience is always one of them. 
(Exod. xxxiv. 6.) " The Lord passed by before 
Moses, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God 
merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant 
in goodness and truth.** (Psal. Ixxxvi. 15.) ** But 
thou, O Lord, art. a God full of compassion, and 
gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy 
and truth." (Psal. ciii. 8.) '* The Lord is merciful 
and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in 
mercy." And the same you find, Psal. cxlv. 8. 
Jonah iv< 2. Joel ii. 13. 

Sometimes, indeed, you find a severer attribute 
added to these, as that ** he will by no means clear 
the guilty ,** (Exod. xxxiv. 7.) But it is always put 
in the last place; to declare to us, that God's good- 
ness, and mercy, and patience, are his first and pri- 
mary perfections : and it is only whefl these ^il, 



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mud have no effect upon us/ but are abused by utf, 
to the encouragement of ourselves in an impenitent 
course, that his justice takes place. 

Nay, even among men, it is esteemed a perfec- 
tion, to be able to forbear and to restrain our anger ; 
passion is impotency and folly, but patience is 
power and vrisdom. (Prov. xiv. 29.) '' He that is 
slow to wrath, is of great understanding; but he 
that if hasty of spirit, exalteth folly." (Prov. xvi. 
32.) '' He that is slow to anger, is better than the 
mighty; and hethatnileth his spirit, than he that 
taketh a city." (Rom. xii. 21.) ^' Be not overcome 
of evil, but overcome evil with good." To be im- 
patient, is to be overcome; but to forbear anger 
and revenge, is a victory. Patience is an argu- 
ment of great power and command of ourselves ; 
and therefore God himself, who is the most power- 
ful being, is slow to anger, and of infinite patience ; 
and nothing doth more declare the power of God, 
than his patience ; that when he is provoked by 
such vile and despicable creatures as we are, he 
can withhold his hand from destroying us. This is 
the argument which Moses useth, (Numb. xiv. 1 7, 
18.) that the power of God doth so eminently ap- 
pear in his patience ; '* And now, I beseech thee, let 
the power of my. Lord be great, according as thou 
hast spoken, saying. The Lord is gracious, and long- 
suffering." And yet power, where it is not re- 
strained by wisdom and goodness, is a great temp- 
tation to anger; because where there is power, 
there is something to back it, and make it good : 
and therefore the Psalmist doth recommend and set 
off the patience of God, from the consideration of his 
power; (Psal. vii. II.) " God is strong and patient; 
God is provoked every day :'* God is strong, and 



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therefore patieht; or, he it NpfiDitely patieat, Dot- 
WidiBtanding his alniigfaty power to revenge the 
daily provocatious of his creatures. 

Among meD, anger and weakness commonly go 
together; bat they are ill matched, as is excellently 
observed by the son of Sirach: (Ecclus. x. 18.) 
^' Pride was not made for man, nor furioas anger 
for him that is born of a woman." So that anger 
and impatience is every where unreasonable. Where 
there is poM^er, impatience is below it, and a thing 
too mean for omnipotency : and where there wants 
power, anger is abo?e it ; it is too much for a weak 
and impoteut creature to be angry. Where there is 
power, anger is needless, and of no use ; and where 
there is no power, it is vain and to no porpose. So 
that patience is every where a perfection, liotb to 
GtMl and man. I proceed to the 

III. Third thing 1 proposed, which was, to give 
some proof and demonstration of the great patience 
and long-suffering of God to mankind « And this will 
evidently appear, if we consider these two things : 

1. How men deal with God. 

2. How, notwithstanding thiS) God deals with 
(hem. 

L How men deal with God. Every day we 
highly offend and provoke him, we grieve and 
weary him with our iniquities, as the expression is 
in the prophet: (Isa. xliii. 24.) *^ Thou bast made 
me to serve with thy sins; thou hasN: wearied me 
with thine iniquities." Every sin tliat vre commit is 
an affront to the Divine Majesty, an^ a contempt 
of his autherity : by denying subiBissioii to his laws, 
we qae^tion bis omnipresence, and say, *' Doth God 
see? and is there knowledge in the Most High ?" Or 
if we acknowledge his omnipresence, and that he 



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85 

regards what we do, the proToeatioD is etill the 
greater ; because then we affroDt him to his fkce ; 
we dare his justice, and challenge his omnipotency, 
and " provoke the Lord to jealousy,** as if " we 
were stronger than he.** 

Is not God patient, when the whole world lies in 
wickedness, and the earth is overspread with vio^ 
lence, and is fuH of the habitations of crnelty ? 
when he, who is " of purer eyes than to behold ini* 
quity," and is so highly offended at the sins of men, 
hath yet the patience to look upon '' tbem that deal 
treacherously, and to bold his peace?" when the 
** wicked persecutes and devours the man that is 
more righteous than he ?** when even that part of the 
world which professeth the name of God and Cfaritt, 
do, by their vile and abominable lives, ** blaspheme 
that holy and glorious name whereby they are 
called/* 

Every moment God hath greater injuries done to 
him, and more affronts put upon him, than were 
ever offered to all the sons of men ; and, surely, pro* 
vocations are trials of patience, especially when they 
are so numerous, and so heinous; for if offences rise 
according to the dignity of the person injured, and 
the meanness of him that doth the injury, then no 
offences are so great as those that are committed by 
men against God, no affVonts like to those which are 
offered to the Divine Majesty by the continual pro* 
vocations of his creatures. And is not this an argu- 
ment of God*s patience, that the glorious IVfbjesty of 
heaven should bear such multiplied indignities from 
such vile worms ? that he who is the Former of all 
things, should endure his own creatures to rebel 
against him, add the work of his ^ands to strike at 
him ? that he who is our great Benefactor^ should 



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put up such affroDte from those who depend upou 
his bouDty» and are maintained at his charge? that 
he, " in whose hands our breath is," should suffer 
men to breathe out oaths, and curses, and blasphe- 
mies against him ? Surely, these prove the patience 
of God to purpose, and are equally trials and argu- 
ments of it. 

2. The patience of God will farther appear, if we 
consider how, notwithstanding all this, God deals 
with us. He is patieqt to the whole world, in that 
be doth not turn us out of being, and '' turn the wick- 
ed" together " into hell, with all the nations that 
forget God." He is patient to the greatest part of 
mankind, in that he makes but a few terrible exam- 
ples of his justice, ^^ that others may hear and fear," 
and take warning by them. He is patient to parti- 
cular persons, in that, notwithstanding our daily 
provocations, he " prevents us daily with the bless- 
ing" of his goodness, prolonging our lives and vouch- 
safing so many favours to us, that, *' by this great 
goodness^ we may be led to repentance." 

But the patience of God will more illustriously 
appear, if we consider these following particulars, 
which are so many evidences and instances of it. 

1 . That God is not obliged to spare and forbear 
us at all. It is patience, that he doth not surprise 
us in the very act of sin, and let fly at us with a 
thunderbolt so soon as ever we have offended ; that 
the wrath of God doth not fall upon the intemperate 
person, as it did upon the Israelites, '^ while the meat 
and drink is yet in their mouths ;" that a man is not 
struck dead or mad whilst he is telling a lie ; that the 
soul of the profane and felse-s wearer does not ex- 
pire with his oaths and perjuries. 

2. That God spares us, when it is in his power so 



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jeasily to roin us ; when he can with one word com^ 
mand us out of being, and by cutting asunder one 
little thread, let us drop into bell. If God were ' 
disposed to severity, he could deal^ith us after ano- 
ther manner, and, as the expression is in the prophet, 
*' ease himself of his adversaries, and be avenged of 
his enemies." 

3. That Gk>d exerciseth this patience to sinners, 
flagrante belloy while they are up in arms agaioist 
him, and committing hostilities upon him; he 
bears with us even when we are challenging his 
justice to punish us, and provoking his power to 
destroy us. 

4. That he is so very slow and unwilling to punish 
and to inflict his judgments upon us« As for eter- 
nal punishments, God defers them a long while, and 
by all proper ways and means endeavours to prevent 
them, and to bring us to repentance. And as f6r 
those temporal judgments which God inflicts lipon 
sinners, he carries himself so, that we may plainly 
see all the signs of unwillingness that can be; he tries 
to prevent them ; he is loath to set about this work ; 
and when he does, it is with much reluctance ; and 
then he is easily persuaded and prevailed withal 
not to do it ; and when he does, he does it not rigor- 
ously, aud to extremity; and he is soon taken off, 
after he is engaged in it : all which are great in- 
stances and evidences of his wonderful patience to 
sinners. 

(1.) God's unwillingness to punish, appears in 
that he labours to prevent punishment ; and that he 
may effectually do this, he endeavours to prevent 
sin, the meritorious cause of God's judgments i to 
this end, he hath threatened it with severe punish- 
ments, that the dread of them may make us afraid 



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tp offeiHl ; aad if tbis will oQt <)<>» h$ do^ not y#t 
gjtV^ Hftover> bi}( ghras ii« |i upac^ of r^p^fepce^ and 
iovites U9 e^nesdy to tqrn to hiioi nnd thereby to 
pi^veqt bUjudgm^Qta; he expoistnl^^ witb siur 
nw8, 8ih1 wwqw tbe eiiM witb tb^io, n^ if be were 
qion^ concerned not to pqtii^b, tban tb^y are not to 
be punisbed : and tbus, by bis earnest desire of our 
repentance, }m nbeirs bow little \m desires our ruin. 

(30 He is long before b^ goes about this work* 
JiidgmeBt is, in Scripture, called ** bis strange 
work;'' w if be were not acquainted with it, and 
hardly knew how to go about it on the sudden. He 
is represented as not prepared for sucb a work ; 
(Dei|t« wcxii.il.) " If I wbet my glitteriiig sword;" 
as if the io$truiiieots of puoisbment were not ready 
fpr us* Nay, by a strange kind of condescen^n to 
our capacities^ aod to set forth tp us the patience of 
Qodf and his slowness to wrath, after the manner pf 
men, be i$ represented as keeping out of the way, 
that ha may oot be tempted to destroy us ; (Exod« 
xxxiii* 2« 3.) where he tells Mo^ea, that he would 
fiiend an angel before them ; ** For I will not go up in 
the midst of thee, lest I consume thee in the way/* 

At wo^ks of mercy he ia very ready and forward. 
When Daniel preyed for the deliverance pf the peo- 
pte of Israel out of captivity, the angel tells him, that 
'Vajt ti»e beginning of his supplication^ the cpmma^d- 
ment came forth," to bring him a promise of th<eir 
deliverance. The mercy of God, many times, pre- 
iieiits our prayers, and outruns pur wishes and de- 
Mre9; bat when becomes to affliction, be takes time 
to do it i be passeth by many provocations* and 
vaits long in expectation, that, by our repentance, 
he will prevent hk judgments : ^^ He bearkeived ^d 
beardj (saith God in the prophet Jereouab) but tbey 



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i^afce uQt aright ; bo maa repeited him af his widk* 
edD6s«i saying. What have I doa^ ?" He is repre- 
sented as waiting and listening, to bear if any peoi- 
tent word should drop from them ; he gires the siti^ 
aer time to repent and reflect upon fata actions, and 
to consider what he hath done, aivd space to reason 
himself into repentance. For this reason the judg- 
ments of God do oftf^D follow the sins of niea at a 
great distance; otherwise he could easily make 
them mend their pace, and '' coosoaae us in a mo- 
ment.'* 

(3.) When he goes about thia work, be does it 
with much reluctance: (Hosea xi. 8.) *' How shall 
I gire thee up, Ephraim ; how shall I deliver thee, 
Israel ? Mine heart is turned within me, and my re- 
pentings are kindled together.'* He is represented 
as making many essays and ofiers before he came to 
it : (Psal. cvi. 26.) *' Many a time lifted he up his 
hand in the wilderness to destroy them." He made 
as if he would do it, and let fall his band again, as 
if hecould not find in his heart to be so severe. God 
withholds his judgments till he is weary of holding 
in, as the expresaioQ is, (Jen vL 1 1.) until he can 
forbear no longer ; (Jer. xliv. 22.) '^ So that the Lord 
could no longer bear, because of the evil of your 
doings, and because of the abomiimtions which ye 
bava comuiitted.'' 

(40 tjiod is easily prevailed open not to puntsfa. 
When he seeaied resolved upon it to destroy tJie 
nurmuring of the Israelites, yet bow often, at the 
intercession of Moses, did he tarn away his wralb? 
That he will accept of i^ry low terms 4o spare a vary 
wicked people, appears by the instance of Sodom, 
where, if there had been but ^* ten righteaua per- 
sons,*" he would not have destroyed tbein for the ten's 



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sake. Tea, when hiB trath seemed to have beea 
pawned (at least in the apprehension of his prophet)^ 
yet even then repentance took him off, as in the 
case of Nineveh. Nay, how glad is he to be thus 
prevented ! With what joy does he tell the prophet 
the news of Ahab*s humiliation ! *' Seest thou how 
Ahab humbleth himself? Because he humbleth him- 
self, I will not bring the evil in his days." 

(5.) When he punisheth, he does it very seldom 
rigorously, and to extremity, not so much as we 
deserve ; (Psal. ciii. 10.) " He hath not dealt with 
us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our 
iniquities." Nor so much as he can, he doth not let 
loose the fierceness of his anger, nor pour forth all 
his wrath ; (Psal. Ixxviii. 38.) ** He being full of 
compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed 
them not; yea, many a time turned he his anger 
away, and did not stir up all his wrath." 

(6.) After he hath begun to punish, and is engaged 
in the work, he is not hard to be taken off. There 
is a famous instance of this, 2 Sam. xxiv. when 
God had sent three days* pestilence upon Israel, for 
David's sin in numbering the people, and, at the end 
of the third day, the angel of the Lord had stretched 
forth his hand over Jerusalem, to destroy it ; upon 
the prayer of David, it is said, that the ^^ Lord re- 
pented of the evil, and said to the angel that de- 
stroyed, It is enough ; stay now thine hand." Nay, 
so ready is God to be taken off from this work, that 
he sets a high value upon those who stand in the 
gap to turn away his wrath; (Numb. xxv. 11—: 
I8«) *' Phinebas, the son of Eleazar, the son of 
Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from 
the children of Israel (while he was zealous for my 
«ake among them), that I consumed not the children 



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of Israel in my jealousy. Wbereforoiay, Bebold^ I 
give unto him my covenant of peace : and he shall 
have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of 
an everlasting priesthood ; because he was zealous 
for his God, and made an atonement for the children 
of Israel." That which God values in this action of 
Phinehas, next to his zeal for him, is, that ^*he 
turned away his wrath, and made aa atonement for 
the children of Israel.** 

5. And lastly. The patience of God w^l yet ap- 
pear with farther advantage, if we consider some 
eminent and remarkable instances of it; which are 
so much the more considerable, because they are in- 
stances not only of God*s patience extended to a 
long time, but to a great many persons ; the long- 
suffering of God waited in the days of Noah upod 
the whole world, as is probably'conjectured, for the 
space of a hundred and twenty years. God bore 
with the people of Israel in the wilderness, after 
they had tempted him ten times, for the space of 
forty years ; (Acts xiii. 18.) *^ And about the time 
of forty years suffered he their manners in the wil- 
derness.** And this instance of God*s patience will 
be the more remarkable, if we compare it with the 
great impatience of that people; if they did but 
want flesh or water,, they were out of patience with 
God ; when Moses was in the mount with God but 
forty days, they presently fall to make new gods ; 
they had not the patience of forty days, and yet God 
bore their manners forty years. God had spared 
Nineveh for some ages ; and when his patience was 
even expired, and he seems to have passed a final sen« 
tence upon it, yet he grants a reprieve for forty days, 
that they might sue out their pardon in that time: 
and they did so -^ ** They turned from their evil ways, 

VOL. VII. H 



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and God turned from tbe evil he said he would do 
tliein, and be did it not.** 

But the most remarkable instance x>f God's long* 
suffering is to the Jews, if we consider it with all the 
circumstances of it ; after they had rejected the Son 
of God, notwithstanding the purity of his doctrine, 
abd the power of his miracles ; after they had un- 
justly condemned, and cruelly murdered, the Lord 
of life, yet the patience of God respited the ruin of 
that people forty years. 

Besides all these, there are many instances of 
God*s patience to particular persons : but it were 
endless to enumerate these ; every one of us may be 
an instance to ourselves of God's long-suffering. 

I shall only add, as a farther advantage to set off 
' the patience of God to sinners, that his forbearance 
is so great, that he hath been complained of for it 
by his own servants. Job, who was so patient a 
man himself, thought much at it ; (Job xj^i. 7, 8.) 
" Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, 
are mighty in power? Their seed is established in 
tfa(Btr sight with them, and their offspring before their 
eyes.** Jonah challengeth God for it ; (chap. iv. 2.) 
'^ Was not this my saying, when I was yet in my 
country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshisb; 
for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merci- 
ful, slow to anger," &c. Jonah had observed God 
.to be so prone to this^ that he was loath to be sent 
upon his message, lest God should discredit his pro* 
pbeti in not being so good (shall I say, so severe) as 
bis word. 

I have done with the first thing I proposed to* 
speak to ; viz. The great patience and long-suffering 
of God to mankind. 



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SERMON CXLIX. 

T|IE PATIfiNCB OF OOD« 

The Lwd is not slcLck concerning his promise, as 
some men count slackness ; but is long^uffering to 
us'Ward^ not willing that any should perish, but 
that all should come to repentance. — 2 Prt. iii. 0^ 

I HAVE made entrance into these words ; in the 
handling of which, I proposed to do these three 
things : 

Firsts To consider the patience and long-saffer- 
ing of God, as it is an attribute and perf<6ction of 
the Divine nature;^* God is long-suffering to us-* 
ward."* 

Secondly, To shew, that the patience of God^ 
and the delay of his judgment, is no jast ground 
lirhy sinners should hope for impunity; ^' God is 
not slack concerning his promise, as some men 
count slackness.'' 

Thirdly, To consider the true reason of God's 
patience and long-suffering towards mankind ; 
** He is long-suffering to us- ward ; not willing that 
any should perish, but that all should come to re- 
pentance." I have already spoken to the 

First of these; namely, The patience and long- 
suffering of God, as it is an attribute and perfection 
of the Divine nature. I proceed now to the 

Second thing I proposed ; namely. To shew, that 
the patience of God, and the delay of judgment, is^ 
no jiist ground why sinners should hope for impu- 
nity ; " God is not slack concerning his promise, 

H 2 



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at totn% men count slackness ;*' that is, as the scoff- 
ers, here mentioned by the apostle, did ignorantly 
and maliciously reason, that because our Lord de- 
layed his coming to judgment so long, therefore he 
would never come« 

There was, indeed, some pretence for this objec- 
tion ; because the. Christians did generally appre- 
hend that the day of judgment was very near, and 
that it would immediately follow the destruction of 
Jerusalem; and it seems, the disciples thertiselves 
were of that persifasion before our Saviour's death ; 
when our Saviour discoursing to them of the de- 
struction of the temple, they put these two questions 
to him: fMatt« xxiv. 3.) '* And as he sate upon the 
inount of Olives, the disciples came unto him pri- 
T^tely, saying. Tell us, when shall these things be ? 
and, what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the 
end of the world ?" " When shall these things be ?" 
ths^t is, the things he had been speaking of immedi- 
ately before, viz. the destruction of Jerusalem, and 
(he dissolution of the temple; that is plainly the 
meaning of the first question; to which they sub- 
joined another, ^^ and what shall be the sign of thy 
coming?" that is, to judgment, *' and of the end of 
the world ?" which, in all probability, was added to 
the former, because they aupposed that the one waa 
presently to follow the other, and therefore the same 
answer would serve them both : and it appears by 
our Saviour's answer, that he was not concerned to 
rectify them in this mistake, which might be of good 
use to them, botb^ to make them more zealous to 
propagate the gospel, since there was like to be so 
little time for it ; and likewise to wean their affec* 
ticM^s from this world, which they thought to be so 
near an end. 



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Out thing, indeed, our Saviour says, which (had 
they not been prepossessed with another opinioti) 
does sufficiently intimate, that there might be a 
considerable space of time betwixt the destractioB 
of Jerusalem and the day of judgment; and this we 
find only in St, Luke, (cbap.xxi. 24.) where, speak- 
ing of the miseries and calamities that should come 
upon the Jews, he says, *' They shall fall by the 
edg6 of the sword, and be carried' into captivityinto 
all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down 
of the gentiles, until the time of the gentiles be ful- 
filled/' So that here were & great many events fore- 
told, betwixt the destruction of Jerusalem and the 
end of the world, the accomplishment whereof 
might take up a great deal of time, as appears by 
the event of things ; Jerusalem bein^ at this day 
still " trodden down by the gentiles,** and the 
Jews still continuing " dispersed OTer the world :** 
but the disciples, it seems, did not much mind this, 
being carried away with a prejudicate conceit, tliat 
the end of the world would happen before the end 
of that age; in which they were much confiraied by 
what our Saviour, after his resurrection, said of St 
John, upon occasion of Peter's question concerning 
him, (John xxi. 21, 22.) '' Lord, what shall this 
man do ? Jesus saitfa unto him, If I will that he 
tarry till I come, what is that to thee?** Upon 
which words of our Saviour concerning him, St. 
John himself adds, (ver. 23.) " Then went this say- 
ing abroad among the brethren. That that disciple 
should not die;*' that is, that he should live till the 
coming of our Lord, and then be taken up with 
him into heaven ; from all which, they probably (as 
they thought) concluded, that the day of judgment 
/would happen before the end of that age, whilst St. 
John was alive : but St. John, who writ last of ttie 



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eTaDgelists (as Eusebius tells us), aod Kved until 
iafter the destruction of Jerusalem, as he acquaints 
us i^ith this mistake, which was current among the 
Christians, so he takes care to rectify it, telling us, 
that ** Jesus said not, I}e should not die; but. If I 
will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?'' 
He tells us, that our Saviour did not affirm that 
" He should not die;" but, to repress St. Peter's cu- 
riosity, he says, '*^ If it were my pleasure that he 
should not die at all, but live till I come to judg- 
ment, what is that to thee?" And St. Peter, like- 
wise (or whoever was the author of this Second 
Epistle, or, at least, of this third chapter, which 
seems to be a new epistle by itself), takes notice of 
this mistake, about the nearness of the day of judg- 
ment, as that which gave occasion to these scoffers 
to deride the expectation of a future judgment 
among the Christians, because they had been 
already deceived about the time of it ; antl this the 
scoffers twitted them with in that question, " Where 
is the promise of his coming?" Therefore, the 
learned Grotius conjectures very probably, that this 
last epistle (contained in the third chapter) was 
written after the destruction of Jerusalem, which 
was the time fixed for Christ's coming to judgment ; 
and, therefore, there could be no ground for this 
scoff* until after that time. St. Peter, indeed, did 
not live so long ; and therefore Grotius thinks, that 
this epistle was writ by Simeon, or Simon, who was 
successor of St. James in the bishopric of Jerusa- 
lem, and lived to the tin>e of Trajan. 

I have been the longer in giving an account of 
this, that we might understand where the ground 
and force of this scoff* lay ; namely, in this, that be- 
cause the Christians had generally been very confi- 
dent, that the coming of Christ to judgment would 



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be presently after the destrtfction of J^rusakio, and 
were now found to be deceived in that, therefore 
there wasr no regard to be had at all to their expect- 
ation of a future judgment ; because they might bd 
deceived in that as well as in the oth^r. 

But herein they argued very falsely : because our 
Saviour had positively and peremptorily foretold his 
coming to judgment, but had never fixed and deter* 
mined the time of it : nay^ so far was he from that, 
that he had plainly told his disciples, that the pre- 
cise time of the day of judgment God had reserved as 
a secret to himself, which he had not imparted lo 
any, no, not to the angels in heaven, nor to the Son 
himself; (Mark xiii. 32, 33.) ^ But of that day and 
hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are 
in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father; take 
ye heed, watch and pray ; for ye know not whei 
the time is." So that if they presumed to make any 
conjectures about the time when the day of judge- 
ment would be, they did it without any warrant 
from our Lord : it was great presumption in them 
to determine the time of it, when our Saviour had 
€0 expressly told them, that the Father bad reserved 
this OS a secret, which he had never communicated 
to any; and, therefore, if they were mistaken about 
it, it was no wonder. But their mistake in this, 
was no prejudice to the truth of our Saviour's clear 
prediction of a future judgment, without any deters 
mination of the time of it, for that might be at isbme 
thousands of years distance, and yet be certain for 
all that; and the delay of it, was no sign of the Un- 
certainty of our Saviour's prediction concerning tt| 
but only of God's great patience and long^sufierii^ 
to sinners, in expectation of their repentaticfe^ 
^ God is not slack concerning his promise, as eionm 



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tnen count tlackness, but is long-sufferiDg to us^ 
"ward." And this brings me to the 

Third and last particular in the text ; namely. 
The true reason of God's patience and Jong-suffer- 
ing to mankind: ** He is long-suffering to us-ward, 
not willing that any should perish, but that all 
should come to repentance/' And for t|;iis, St. 
Peter cites St. Paul : (ver. 15, of this chapter.) 
** And account that the long-suffering of the Lord 
is saWation ;" that is, that the great end and design 
of God's goodness and long^uffering to sinners, is, 
that they may repent and be saved : • " Account 
that the long-suffering of our Lord is saWation, 
even ^s our beloved brother Paul also, according to 
the wisdom given unto him, hath written unto youj* 
Now these words are not expressly found in St. 
Paul's writings : but the sense and effect of theni 
is, (viz. in Rom. ii. 4.) ** Despisest thou (he riches 
of bis goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffer- 
ing, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth 
thee to repentance ?" God hath a very gracious 
and merciful design in his patience to sinners : he 
IS good, that he may make us so, and that ^his 
"goodness may lead us to repentance:" he defers 
punishment on purpose, that he may give men time 
to bethink themselves, and to return to a better 
mind ; '' He winks at the sins of men, that they 
may repent," says the son of Sirach. The patience 
of God aims at the cure and recovery of those who 
are not desperately and resolutely wicked. 

This 18 the primary end and intention of God's 
patience to sinners; and if he fail of this end, 
through our hardness and impeniteucy, he hath 
other ends, which he will infallibly attain : he will 
hereby glorify the riches of his mercy, and vindi- 



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Cat€! the rigbteoqftnesa of his justice; the damned 
10 hell shall acknowledge, that the patience of God 
vas great mercy and goodness to them, though they 
abused it ; for God does not lose the glory of his 
patience, though we lose the benefit of jt, and he 
will make it subservient to his justice, one way or 
pther. Those great oflTenders wliom he spares, after 
there are no hopes of their amendment, he, many 
times, makes use of, as instruments for the punishing 
of others, *' as rods of his wrath, for the discipline 
of the world ;*' and he often reserves those who are 
'incorrigibly bad, for a more remarkable ruin : but, 
however, they are reserved to the judgment of the 
great day ; and if, after God hath exercised much 
patience towards sinners in this world, he inflicts 
punishment on them in the next, it must be ac* 
knowledged to be most just: for what can he do 
less, than to condemn those who would not be 
saved, and to make them miserable who so obsti- 
nately refused to be happy ? 

Before I come to apply this discourse concern- 
ing the patience and long-suffering of God to sin- 
ners, I must remove an objection or two : 
, I. The severity of God to some sinners in this life, 
and to all impenitent sinners in the next, seems to 
contradict what hath been said concerning God's 
patience and long-suffering. 

As for the severity of God . towards impenitent 
sinners in the next life, this doth not. at all contra? 
diet the patience of God ; because the very nature 
of patience, and forbearance, and longsufleriog, 
does suppose a determinate time, and that they wilt 
not last always : this life is the day of God's pa^ 
tience, and in the next world his justice and seve^ 
rity will take place. And, therefore, the punish- 



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98 

inent of sinners in another world, after God bath 
tried them in this, and eJKpected their repentance, is 
DO ways contrary to his patience and goodness, and 
'very agreeable to his wisdom and justice ; for it 
is no part of goodness to see itself perpetually 
abused; it is not patience, but stupidity and insen- 
sibieness, to endure to be always trampled upon, 
and to bear to have his holy and just laws for ever 
despised and contemned. 

And as for his severity to some sinners in this 
life-^as to Lot's wife ; to the Israelite that gathered 
sticks on the sabbath-day ; to Nadab and Abihu ( 
to Uzzah ; to Ananias and Sapphira ; and to Herod 
Agrippa — in all which instances God seems to have 
made quick work, and to have executed judgment 
speedily. To these I answer, that this severity of God 
to some few, doth rather magnify his patience to the 
rest of mankind ; he may be severe to some few for 
example and warning to many, that they may learn 
to make better use of his patience, and not to tres* 
pass so boldly upon it ; and, perhaps, he hath exer- 
cised much patience already towards those to whom 
at last he is so severe, as is plain in the case of 
Herod, and it may well be supposed in most of the 
other instances ; or else the sin, so suddenly and 
severely punished, was very heinous and presump^ 
toous, of a contagious and spreading nature, and of 
dangerous example. Lofs wife sinned most pre* 
sumptuously against an express and an easy com-^ 
mand, and whilst Grod was taking care of her de^ 
liverance in a very extraordinary manner. That of 
Nadab and Abihu, and of the map that gathered 
^iiticks on the sabbath-day, were presently after the 
giving of the law^ ib which case great severity ie 
necessary ; and that of Ananias and Sapphira,. at 



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99 

tfie first publishing of the gospel, that the majesty 
of the Divine Spirit, and the authority of the first 
publishers of it, might not be contemned : that of 
Uzzah was upon the return of the ark of God from 
among the Philistines, that the people might not 
lose their reverence for it after it had been taken 
captive. So that these necessary severities to a few, 
in comparison of those many that are warned by 
them, are rather arguments of God*s patience than 
objections against \t. 

II. It is objected. That if God do not desire the 
itiin of sinners, but their repentance, whence comes 
it to pass that all are not brought to repentance ? 
for who hath resisted his will ? To this I answer : 

I. That there is no doubt but God is able to do 
this: he can, if he pleaseth, conquer and reclaim 
the most obstinate spirits ; he is able out of *' stones 
to raise up children unto Abraham :" and sometimes 
he exerts his omnipotence herein, as in the conver- 
sion of St. Paul, in a kind of violent and irresistible 
manner: but he hath no where declared that he 
will do this to all, and we see plainly, in experience, 
that he does not do it. 

2.- God may very well be said, ** not to be wilU 
ing that any should perish, but that all should come 
to repentance,** when he does, on his part, what is 
sufficient to that end ; and upon this ground the 
Scripture every where represents God as desiring 
the repentance of sinners, and their obedience to 
his laws : (Dent. v. 29.) '^ O that there were such 
a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep 
all my commandments always, that it might be well 
with them !** So Jer. xiii. 27. " O Jerusalem, wilt 
thou not be made clean ? when shall it once be ?"* 
(Isa. v. 3, 4.) We find God there solemnly appeal- 



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100 

ing to the people of Israel, whether there had been 
any thing wanting on his part that was fit to be 
done : " And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and 
men of Judah, judge, I pray yon, betwixt me and 
my vineyard : what could have been done more to 
my vineyard that I have not done to it ? wherefore 
when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, 
brought it forth wild grapes?'' God may justly 
look for the fruits of repentance and obedience from 
those to whom he affords a sufficiency of means to 
that end. And if so, then, 

3. The true reason why men do not repent, but 
perish, is because they are obstinate, and will not 
repent ; and this account the Scripture every where 
gives of the impenitency of men, and the ruin con- 
sequent upon it: (Psal. Ixxxi. 13.) * O that my 
people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had 
walked in my ways! But my people would not 
hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of ipe/* 
(Bzek. xxxiii. 11.) " Why will ye die, O house of 
Israel?" (Prov. i. 29—31.) " That they hated 
knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord. 
They would none of my counsel ;'they defxpised all 
my reproof. Therefore they shall eat of the fruit 
of their own ways, and be filled with their own de* 
vices.** The ruin of sinners doth not proceed from 
the counsel of God, but from their own choice. 
And so likewise our Saviour every where chargeth 
the ruin and destruction of the Jews upon their 
own wilful obstinacy. 

The inferences from this discourse concerning the 
patience and long-sufiering of God towards man* 
kind, shall be these three : 

J. To stir US up to a thankful acknowledgment of 
the great patience of God towards us, notwithstand*- 



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101 

ing our maiiifoUl and beinbns provocations. W# 
may every one of uvs take to ourselves those words : 
(Lam. ill. 22.) *• It is of the Lord's mercy that we 
are not consumed, because his compassions fail 
not." They are " renewed every morning." When- 
ever we sin, (and *• we provoke God every day") it 
18 of his *^ patience that we are not destroyed :** and 
when we sin again, this is a new and greater in- 
Mance of God's patience. The mercies of God's 
patience are no more to be numbered than our sins: 
we may say with David, " How great is the sum of 
them?"* The goodness of God in sparing us is, in 
some respect, greater than his goodness in creating 
US ; because he had no provocation not to make us, 
but we provoke him daily to destroy us. 

II. Let us propound the patience of God, for a 
pattern to ourselves. Plutarch says, " That God 
sets forth himself in the midst of the world for our 
imitation, and propounds to us the example of hii^ 
patience, to teach us not to revenge injuries hastily 
upon one another.'* 

III. Let us comply with the design of God's pa* 
tience and long-suffering towards us, which is '' to 
bring us to repentance." Men are very apt to abuse 
it to a quite contrary purpose^ to the encouraging 
themselves in their evil ways. So Solomon ob- 
serves: (Eccl. viii. 11.) " Because sentence against 
an evil work is pot executed speedily, therefore the 
heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do 
evil.*' But this is very false reasoning ; for the pa- 
tience of God is an enemy to sin, as well as his 
justice; and the design of it is not to countenance 
sin, but to convert the sinner: (Rom. ii. 4.) •* De- 
spisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbear** 
ahce, and . long-suffering ; not knowing that the 



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103 

goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance r Pa- 
tience in God should produce repentance in us ; 
and we should look Upon it as an opportunity given 
us by God to repent and be saved : (2 Pet iii. 15.) 
'' Account that the long-suffering of God is salva-* 
tion/' They that do not improve the patience of 
God to their own salvation, mistake the true mean- 
ing and intent of it. But many are so far from 
making this use of it, that they presume upon it, 
imd sin with more courage and confidence beoause 
of it ; but that we may be sensible of the danger of 
this, 1 will offer these two or three considerations: 

1. That nothing is more provoking to Grod than 
the abuse of his patience. God's patience waits for 
our repentance ; and all long attendance, even of 
inferiors upon their superiors, hath something in it 
that is grievous : how much more grievous and pro- 
yoking most it be to the great God, after he hath 
laid out upon us all the riches of his goodness and 
long-suffering, to have that despised ! after his pa« 
tience hath waited a long time upon us, not only to 
be thrust away with contempt, but to have that 
which sbt)uld be an argument to us to leave our 
sins, abused into an encouragement to continue in 
them ! God takes an account of all the days of 
bis patience and forbearance : (Luke xiii^i 7.) ** Be-» 
bold, th^se three years I come seeking fruit on this 
fig^ree and find none: cut it down; why cum- 
beretb it the ground ?'' 

2. Consider that the patience of God will have 
an end. Though Grod suffers long, he will not suf- 
fer always ; we may provoke God so long, until be 
can forbear no longer without injury and dishonour 
to his wisdom, and justice, and holiness ; and God 
will not suffer one attribute to wrong the rest: his 



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wisdom will detertniDe the length of bis patience ; 
aod when his patience is to no purpose, when there 
is no hopes of oar amendment, his wisdom will then 
put a period to it; Uien the patience, of his mercy 
will determine. ** How often woaldlhave gadiered 
yon, and you would not? therefore your house i4 
left unto you desolate." And the patience of God's 
jndgments will then determine. *^Why should 
ihey be smitten any more ? they will revolt more 
and more." Yea, patience itself, after a long and 
fruitless expectation, will expire. A sinner may 
continue so long impenitent, till the patience of 
God, as I may say, grows impenitent, and then onr 
min will make haste, and destruction ^^ will come 
upon us in a moment." If men will not come to 
repentance, *^ the day of the Lord will come as a 
thief in the night," as it follows in the next verse 
after the text; the judgment of God will sud- 
denly surprise those who will not be gained by his 
patience.^ 

3. Consider that nothing will more hapten and 
aggravate our min than the abuse of God's patience. 
All this time of God's patience his wrath is coming 
towards ns ; and the more we presume upon it, the* 
sooner it will overtake us ; (Luke xii. 45, 46.) the 
wicked servant, who said his **lord delayed bis 
coming," and fell to rioting and drunkenness; 
our Saviour tells us, that '^the lord of that seri* 
▼ant will come in a day when he looks not for him.*^* 

And it will aggravate our ruin; the longer pu- 
nishment is a coming, the heavier it will be : those 
things which are long in preparation are terrible in , 
execution ; the weight of God's wrath will make 
amends for the slowness of it ; and the delay vt 
judgment will be fully recompensed in the dread*- 



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fuIn^SB of it when it comes. Let all those coasidcir 
this who go on in their sin, and are deaf to. the voice 
of God 8 patience, which calls upon them every mo* 
ment of tlieir lives. There is a day of vengeance a 
coming upon those who trifle away this day of 
God's patience : nothing will sooner and more ia- 
flame the wrath and displeasure q{ God againsjt us 
than his abused patience, and the despised riches 
of his goodness. As oil, though it be soft and 
smooth, yet, when it is once inflamed, burns most 
fiercely ; so the patience of God, when it is abused, 
turns into fury; and bis mildest attributes into the 
greatest severities. 

And if the patience of God do not bring us to re« 
pentance, it will but prepare us for a more intolera^ 
ble ruin : after God bath kept along indignation in 
his breast, it will, at length, break forth with the 
greater violence. The patience of God increaseth . 
his judgments by an incredible kind of proportion ; 
(Levit. xxvi. 18.) ** And if you will still (says God 
to the pQople of Israel) walk contrary to me, and if 
ye will not be reformed by all these things, I will 
punish you yet seven times more." Add, (verse 28.) 
** I will bring seven times more plagues upon you, 
according to your sins.'* At first God's justice ae« 
cuseth sinners ; but, after a long time of patience, 
his mercy comes in against us, and, instead of stay- 
ing his hand, adds weight to his blows ; (Roni. ix.22.) 
^ What if God, willing to shew his wrath, audio* 
make his power known, endureth with much long- 
auffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction ?" 
They upon whom the patience of God hath no good 
effect, are *' vessels of wrath, prepared and fitted 
for destruction." If ever God display his wrath, 
and make his^ anger known, he will do it in tha 



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105 

mofit severe maoDer upon those who have despised 
and abused his patience ; for these, in a more pecu- 
liar manner, ** do treasure up for themselves wrath 
against the day of wrath, and the revelation of the 
righteous judgment of God.** 

To conclude: Let us all take a review of our 
Kves, and consider how long the patience of God 
hath waited upon us, and borne with us ; with some 
twenty, forty, perhaps sixty years, and longer. Do 
we not remember how God spared us in such a 
danger, when we gave ourselves for lost ? and how 
he recovered us in such a sickness, when the physi- 
cian gave us up for gone? and what use have we 
made of this patience and long-suflering of God to- 
wards us ? It is the worst temper in the wprld not 
to be melted by kindness, not to be obliged by be- 
nefits, not to be tamed by gentle usage. He that is 
not wrought upon, neither by the patience of his 
mercy, nor by the patience of his judgments, his 
case is desperate, and past remedy. ^^ Consider 
this, all ye that forget God,** lest his patience turn 
into fury ; for *^ God is not slack, as some men 
count slackness ; but long-suffering to sinners, not 
willing that any should perish^ but that all should 
come to repentance."' 



VOL. VII. 



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SERMON CL. 

THE LONG-SUFFERING OF GOD. 

Sicauie sentence against an evil tvot^k is not executed 
speedily y therefore the heart ef the sons oftken is 
fttltysei ik tkem to do evil. — Eccles. viii. II. 

NtiTKtNG i« mdte evident, tbaa thdt '* the world 
lies in itickediiess,'' abd that iniqahy every where 
abounds; and yet nothing is more certain, than that 
•* God will not acquit the guilty,** and let sin go un- 
punished. AH men, excepting those who have of^ 
f^d notorious violence to the light of their ow» 
minds, and '^ have put the candle of the Lord,*" 
i^hicfa is in them, ^* under a bushel," do believe that 
there is a God in the world, to whose holy, nature 
and will sin is perfectly contrary^ "who lovea 
righteousness^ aud hates iniquity ;** that '' bis eyes» 
are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his- 
goings f that ^' there is no darkness, nor shadow^ 
of deaths wberfe the workers of iniquity may hidef 
themselves." All men, except those whose con«t 
sciences are seared, as it were, with a hot iron, are 
convinced of the difference of good and evil, and 
that it is not all one, whether men serve God or serve 
him not, do well or live wickedly. Every man, 
from his inward sense and experience, is satisfied 
of bis own liberty, and that God lays upon men no 
necessity of sinning, but that whenever we do amiss, 
it is our own act, and we choose to do so ; and so 
far is he from giving the least countenance to sin, 
that be bath given all imaginable discouragement to 



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it, by the most severe and terrible tbreateniDgs, such 
as one would think sufficient to deter men for ever 
from it, and to drive it out of the worM; and to' 
make his threatenings the more awful and effectual, 
his providence hath not been wanting to give re- 
markable instances; of his justice and severity upon 
notorious offenders, even in thid life: and yet, for all 
this, men do, and will sin ; nay, they are zealously 
set and bent upon it. 

Now here is the wonder ; what it is that gives 
sinners such heart, and makes them so resolute and 
undaunted in so dangerous a course. Solomon 
gives us this account of it ; because the punishndents 
and judgments of God follow the sins of men so 
slowly, and are long before they overtake the sinner ; 
*' Because sentence against an evil work is not 
executed speedily, therefore the hearts of the sons 
of men are fully set in them to do evil.'' 

The scope of the wise man's discourse is this;^ 
that, by reason of God's forbearance and long-suffi^r- 
ing towards sinners in this life, it is not so easy to 
discern the difference between them and other men ; 
this life is the day of God's patience, but the next will 
be a day of retribution and recompence. Now be- 
cause God doth defer and moderate the punishment 
of sinners in this world, and reserve the weight of his 
judgments to the next; because, through the long- 
suffering of God, many great sinners live and die 
without any remarkable testimony of God's wrath 
and displeasure against them ; '* therefore the heart 
of the children of men are fully set in them to do 
evil." 

If we render the text word ft>r Word from the ori- 
gianl, it runs thus ;^ '' Beclause nothing is done as a 
recoropenceto an evil work, therefore the heart of 

I 2 

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108 

the sons of men are full io them to do evil;** that k^' 
because men are not opposed aud contradicted iu 
their evil ways» because Divine justice doth not 
presently check and control sinners, because sen^ 
tence is not in^mediately passed upon them, and judg- 
ment executed, ^^ therefore the heart of the sons of 
men is full in them to do evil ;" that is, therefore 
men grow bold and presumptuous in sin: for the 
Hebrew word which we render "is fully set in them/^ 
we find, (Esth, vii, 5.) where Ahasuerus says, con- 
cerning Haman, *^ Who is he ? and where is he that 
durst presume in his heart to do so?" Whose heart 
was full to do so? Fervit in its eorfiliorum hondnum; 
80 some render it, "the hearts of men boil with 
wickedness ;" are so full of it, that it works over. 
Men are resolute in an evil course, "their hearts are 
strengthened and hardened in them to do evil/' so 
others translate the words. The translatibn of the 
LXX. is rery emphatical, €irXtipo^/>fift| jca/oS/a, " the 
heart of the sons of men is fully persuaded and 
assured to do evil/' All these translations agree m 
the main scope and sense; viz. that sinners are ^ery 
apt to presume upon the long-suffering of God, and 
to abuse it, to the hardening and encouraging of 
themselves in their evil ways. In the handling o( 
this, I shall, 

First, Briefly shew that it is so. 

Secondly, Whence this comes to pass, and upon 
what pretences and colours of reason, men encou- 
rage themselves in sin from the patience of God. 

Thirdly, I shall endeavour to answer an objectioD* 
about this matter. 

First, That men are very apt to abuse the long- 
suffering of God, to the encouraging and hardening 
of themselves in an evil course, the experience of the 



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ib9 

world, in all ages, does give abundant testimohy. 
Thus it was with the old world, *^ when the loug- 
sufiering of God waited in the days of Noah, while 
be was preparing an ark, for the space of a hundred 
and twenty years,'* (I Pet. iii. 20.) For the wicked- 
ness of man, which was great upon the earth, a gene- 
ral deluge was threatened : but God was patient, 
and delayed his judgment a great while: hereupon 
they grew secure in their impenitency, and went on 
in their course, as if they had no apprehension of 
danger, no fear of the judgment threatened. So our 
Saviour tells us : (Matt. xxiv. 38, 39.) ** As in the 
days that were before the flood, they were eating 
and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until 
the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not 
until the flood came, and took them all away.*' And 
so it was with Sodom: (Luke xvii.28.) and ^Mikewise 
also as it was in the days of Lot, they did eat, they 
drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they 
built." And so, our Saviour tells us, it will be in 
the end of the world ; ^* Even thus shall it be in the 
day when the Sou of man is revealed." So likewise 
the apostle St. Paul, (Rom. ii. 4, 5.) *^ Despisest 
thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, 
and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness 
of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy 
hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest up to thy- 
self wrath against the day of wrath, and the revela- 
tion of the righteous judgment of God." The good- 
ness and long-suffering of God, which ought in all 
reason to lead men to repentance, is to many an oc- 
casion of greater hardness and impenitency. So also 
St. Peter foretels, (2 Pet. iii. 3.) " That in the last 
days there should come scoffers, who should walk 
after their own hearts' lusts, saying, Where is th^ 



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promise of his coming?" And we see^ in daiiy expe* 
<rieDce, that the greatest pckrt of siooers grow more 
obstinate and confirtned io their wicked ways, upon 
account of God's patieQce, and because he ddays 
the punishment d tie to them for their sins. LfCt us 
consider^ in the 

Second place, Whence this comes to pass, and 
upon what pretence and colour of reason men en- 
courage themselves in sin, from the long-sufieririg 
of God. And there is no doubt but this proceeds 
from our ignorance and inconsiderateness, and from 
an evil heart of unbelief, from the temptation and 
suggestion of the devil, one of whose great arts it 
is, to make men question the threatenings of God, 
and to insinuate, as -he did to our first parents, 
either that he hath not denounced such threaten- 
ings, or that he will not execute them so severely. 
All these causes do concur to the producing this 
monstrous effect: but that which I design to in- 
iquire into, is, from what pretence of reason, ground- 
ed upon the long-suffering of God, sinners argue 
themselves into this confidence and presumption. 
For when the wise man saith, that " because sen- 
tence against an evil work is not executed speedily^ 
therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in 
them to do evil ;" he does not intend to insinuate, 
that God's long-suffering fills the hearts of men with 
wicked designs and resolutions, and does, by a 
proper and direct efficacy, harden sinners in their 
course; but that wicked men, upon some account 
or other, do take occasion, from the long-suffer- 
ing of God, to harden themselves in sin; they draw 
false conclusions from it to impose upon themselves^ 
as if it were really a ground of encouragement; they 
think they see something in the forbearance of God, 



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qjid his delay of puDiahaieiity which makes them 
hope for unpumty in an evil imHirse, nolwitkstandhig 
Jthe threatenings of God. 

And, therefore, I shall endeavour to dxew, whajt 
fthose false conclusions are, which vricked men 
draw from the delay of punishment, and to discovetr 
the sophistry and fallacy of them ; and I shall rank 
^hem under two faead^ ; those w]||ch are ^ore grow 
and atheistical ; and those which are QOt so ^qs^* 
but yet more <;ommon and frequent. 

I. Those conclusions which are more gross and 
jSitheisticaU which bad men draw to the hardening 
and encouraging of themselves in sin^ fri>m the der 
Isiy of punishment (which we^ who believe a God, 
icall the patience or long-suffering of God), are these 
three : either that there is no God; or, if there be, 
that there is qo providence ; or that th^re is up dif- 
ference between good and evil> 

I shall speak more briefly of these^ because J 
hope there are but few in the world of such irregiir 
lar and besotted understandings, as to make suchin- 
.fer^ncesas these, from the delay of punishment. 

1st, From hence some would fain conclude, that 
there is no God. That some are so absurd as tp 
reason in this manner, the Scripture tells ns, (Psal. 
xiv. 1.) '' The fool bath said in his heart, There is no 
God : they are corrupt, and have done abomina* 
ble works/' Now the argument that these mon 
frame to themselves is this ; God doth not take « 
speedy course with sinners, and revenge himself im? 
mediately upon the workers of iniqmty, ther^fofe 
there is no God ; for if there were, be would shew 
himself, and not bear the affronts of sinners, wji^a 
. it is so easy for hioa to vindicate himself by a swift 
and speedy vengeance. Thus th^ poe^ repres^ts 



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112 

fhe ittheist arguing ; Nnttos esse deos^ inane aeJum^ 
affirmat Selius^ prohatque^ quodsefactum^ dum negat 
hoc^ videt beatum. '' Selius affirms, there are no 
gods, and that heayen is an empty place, and 
proves it, because, "v^hilst he denies God, he sees 
himself in a very happy and prosperous condition." 

And here it is worthy our notice, at what a con- 
tradictious rate these men reason. First, They 
would have no God, lest he should be just, and 
punish them as they deserve ; and then, in another 
mood, they would have him to be nothing but jus- 
tice and severity, lest there should be a God : as if 
no other notion could be framed of the Divine na- 
ture, but of a rash fury, and impetuous revenge, and 
an impotent passion, which, when it is offended and 
provoked, cannot contain itself, and forbear punish- 
ment for a moment. Justice is not such a per- 
fection as doth necessarily exclude wisdom, and 
goodness, and patience; it doth in no wise con* 
tradict the perfection of the Divine nature to bear 
with sinners, in expectation of their repentance and 
amendment ; or if God foresees their final impeni- 
tency, to respite their punishment to the most fit 
and convenient season. God may sufifer long, and 
yet be resolved, if sinners persist in the abuse of his 
goodness and patience, to execute vengeance upon 
them in due time. It is a pitiful ground of atheism, 
that because God is so much better than wicked 
men deserve, they will not allow him to be at all. 

2dly, Others infer from the delay of punishment, 
that there is no providence that administers the af- 
fairs of the world, and regards the good and bad 
actions of men. For though the being of God be 
acknowledged^, yet, if he do not regard what is done 
bere below^ uor concern himself in human afifairs. 



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BioDers are m safe and free to do what they please, 
as if there were no God ; and upon this ground, the 
Scripture tells us, many encourage themselves in 
their wickedness; (Psal. Ixiv. 6.) ** They encourage 
themselves in an evil matter; they commune of lay- 
ing snares privily ; they say, Who shall see them ?"* 
And more expressly, (Psal. xciv. 4 — 7.) " How 
long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all 
the workers of iniquity^ boast themselves ? They 
break in pieces thy people, O Lord, and afflict 
thine heritage. They slay the widow and the 
stranger, and murder the fatherless. Yet they say, 
The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Ja- 
cob r^ard it." And if this were so, well might 
they encourage themselves. If it were true which 
Epicurus saith, ** That God takes no knowledge of 
the actions of men ; that he is far removed from us, 
and contented with himself, and not at all con- 
cerned in what we do :** if this were true, the in^ 
ference which Lucretius makes were very just; 
Quare religio pedibus subjecla vicissim obleritur j 
^* Men might trample religion under their feet, and 
live without any regard to the laws of it.** 

But let us see how they infer this from the long- 
suffering of God, that he neglects the affairs of the 
world, and hath no consideration of the actions of 
men, because they see the ungodly to prosper in the 
world equally with others that are strictly devout 
and virtuous, yea, many times to be in a more pros- 
perous and flourishing condition ; *^ they -are not in 
trouble like other men, neither are they plagued 
like other men.*" So that if there be a God, it seems 
(say they) that he connives at the crimes of men, and 
^' looks on upon them that deal treacherously, and 
holds his peace whilst the wicked devouretb tha 



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H4 

mao that is nior€ righteous tfaao bimself,'' as the pro- 
phet expresseth it, (Habak. i. 13.) 
; For answer to this, I shall only gi?e this reason- 
able and credible account of the long-suffering of 
God, and the impunity of wicked men in this life^ 
which not only the Scripture gives us, but the hear 
then were able to give from the light of nature, 
and is agreeable to the common sense of mankind ; 
namely, that this life is a stat^ of probation and 
trial, wherein God suffers men to walk in their 
own ways without any visible check and restr^nt, 
and does not usually inflict present and remarkable 
punishpients upon them for their evil deeds; be- 
cause this, being a state of trial of the dispositions 
and manners of men, is ratlxer the proper season o£ 
patience, than of punisho^ents and rewards; and 
therefore it is very reasonable to suppose that God 
reserves sinners for a solemn and public trial at the 
^reat assizes of the world, when be will openly via- 
dicate the honour of his justice upon thedespisers 
of bis patience and long-suff*ering, when he wiil 
make '' his judgment to break Corth as the light, 
and his righteousness as the noo)»-day." In the 
.mean time, the providence of God, when he sees it 
fit, gives some remarkable instances of his justice 
upon great and notorious offenders in this life, as a 
pledge and earnest of a future judgment; and 
these, sometimes, more general, as in the destructioD 
of the old world by an universal deluge, whea 
^^ he saw the wickedness of men to be great upon 
the earth;" and such was that terrible vengeance 
which was poured down upon Sodom and Gomor- 
rah, and the cities about them ; which, as St. Jude 
tells us, ^^ are set forth for aq example, suffering the 
vengeance of eternal fire/' that is, of a perpetual de- 
struction by fire. 



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Sdly^ Aootfaer grots aad Mb^bUeal ittlerftDoe, 
which men are apt to make firocii the delay of pu* 
siabBient ; is, that there is qo such diflerevee of good 
nod eiiil as is pretended ; becauise they do not see 
the good and bad actions of men differenced {n tbehr 
rewards ; because Divine justice doth not presently 
manifest iteelf; and e^ery irans^ession and dis- 
obedience doth not immediately receive a just re- 
compence of reward, therefore tl^ey ca^vot believe 
that the difierenoe between good and evU is so great 
and evident. 

For answer to this: not to insist opoci the differ- 
ence which the providence of God sometime csakes 
between them in this life, I appeal to the con- 
sciences of men, whether they Ao not secretly and 
inwardly acknowledge a clear difference between 
good and evil. , Are not the worst of men apt to 
ponceive better liopes of success, when they, xare 
about a just and honest undertaking, than when 
they are engaged in a wicked design? Do not. bad 
men feel a secret shame and horror, when no. eye 
sees them, and the wickedness they are about to 
commit doth not fall under the cognizance and cen* 
sure of any human court. or tribunal? Have they 
not many checks and rebukes in their owa spirits, 
much disturbance and confusij^n of mind, whea 
they are enterprising a wicked thing ? And does 
lK>t this plainly argue, that they are guilty to thett- 
aelves, that they are about something which they 
ought not to do ? 

It is very true, that most men are«K>re sensible 
of the evil of an action, when they feel the ill effects 
and consequences of it, and suffer the punishnaeat 
that is due to it : but yet the sense of good and evil 
is so deeply impressed upon human nature, that I 



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think no maD» remaining a man, can qnite deface 
and blot out the difference of good and evil. So 
that if men will but attend to the natural dictates 
and suggestions of their own minds, they cannot 
possibly infer, from the djelay of punishment, that 
there is no difference of good and eiiL 

But because those who are thus are but few, 
in comparison, there being not many in the world 
arrived to that degree of blindness, and height of im-* 
piety, as to disbelieve a God and a providence ; 
and I think none have attained to that perfect con- 
quest of conscience, as to have lost all sense of good 
and evil ; therefore I shall rather insist, 

IL Upon those kind of reasonings which are 
more ordinary and common amotig bad men, and 
whereby they cheat themselves into everlasting per* 
dition ; and they are such as these : 

1. Because sentence against an evil work is not' 
speedily executed, therefore sin is not so great an 
evil. 

2. Therefore God is not so highly offended and 
provoked by it. • Or, 

3. God is not so severe in his own nature, as he 
is commonly represented. 

4. Therefore the punishment of sin is not so cer- 
tain. Or, however, 

5. It is at a distance, and may be prevented time 
enough, by a future repentance in our old age, or 
at the hour of death. By some such false reason- 
ings as these, which men think may probably be 
collected from the patience and long-suffering of 
God, thley harden and encourage themselves in an 
evil ct>ursQ. 

1. Because the punishment of sin is deferred, 
therefore they conclude it is not so great an evil ; 



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117 

tbej do not feel the ill effects of it at present ; ^ 
things go well and prosperously with them, no less 
than with those who are so strict and conscientious; 
and therefore they hope there is no such great evil 
in sin, as melancholy people are apt to fancy to 
themselves* For answer to this^ 

(1.) Consider seriously what sin is, and then thou 
wilt see reason enough to call it a great eviK To sin 
against God, is to contemn the greatest authority 
in the world, to contradict the greatest holiness and 
purity, to abuse the greatrat goodness, and to pro« 
voke almighty justice to take vengeance upon thee, 
and to make thee as miserable as thou art capable 
of being. To sin against God, is to be disobedient 
to thy sovereign, and unthankful to thy best bene- 
factor, and to act contrary to the greatest obliga* 
tions, against thy best reason and truest interest ; 
to disoblige thy kindest friend, and to gratify thy 
worst and bitterest enemy : it is to disorder thyself, 
to create perpetual disquiet to thy own mind, and 
to do the greatest mischief possible to thyself; to 
deprive thyself of the greatest happiness, and to 
draw down upon thyself extreme and eternal mi^ 
sery. And what do we call a great evil if this be 
not, whidi contains in it all the kinds and all the 
aggravations of evil that can be, and hath all the 
circumstances of ugliness and deformity in it that 
can be imagined ? 

(2.) Whatever sin be in itself, yet from hence we 
can in no wise conclude that it is not a great evil, 
because the punishment of it is deferred for a 
while : from hence, indeed, it follows, that God is 
very good in deferring the punishment which is due 
to thee for thy sins, but by no means that sin is not 
Tery evil. The reprieve of a traitor does, indeed^ 



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118 

argue tbe goodoess and clenaency of the prince^ but 
doth DOt at all abate of tbe heinousoess of tbe crime 
for which he is sentenced. TJbe great e?il of sin is* 
evident, because the holy aud just God hath for- 
bidden it, and declared his hatred and detestation 
of it, and threatened it with most severe and direful 
punishment ; but that God respites the punishment 
which is due to sin, and does not immediately take 
vengeance upon sinners, but affords them a space, 
and means, and opportunity of repentance, this: 
doth not at all lessen the evil of sin, but is rather 
an aggravation' of it, that we should offend and 
provoke that God who is so patient and long-suffer- 
ing towards us, so very loath to bring those evik 
upon us, which we are so rash and forward to pull 
down upon ourselves. 

2. If God doth not immediately punish sin upon 
the commission of it, and instantly let fly at the sin- 
ner, this they would construe to be a sign that he is 
not so highly offended and provoked by it ; if hei 
were, he would manifest his displeasure against it, 
by the sudden and violent effusions of bis wrath. 
For answer to this, I desire these two things may 
be considered : 

(1.) That God himself, in his word, every where 
plainly declares to us his great displeasure against 
sin : (Psal. v. 4, 5.) '' Thou art not a. God. that hast 
pleasure in wickedness, neither shall evil dwell with 
thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight ; thou 
hatest all the workers of iniquity." *^ Thou art not a 
God that hast pleasure in wickedness.'' The words' 
are a/ucciMnc, and less is. spoken than is meant and 
intended ; viz. that God is solar from taking pleasure 
in tbe sins of men, that he is highly displeased at 
them* and bears an implacable hatred against them. 



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And do not the terrible threatenings of God 
against sin declare him to be highly offended at it,: 
when he says, ^ that he will come in flaming fire to 
render Tengeance to all them that know not the 
gosper of his Son; and that they *' shall be punished 
with everlasting destructiod, from the presence of > 
the Lord, and from the glory of his power?" Can we 
think that all the threatenings of God*s word, and 
all those direful curses which are written in his 
book, shall return empty, without doing any exe- 
cution ? Thou that now flatterest thyself in vain and 
groundless hopes, that none of these evils shall come' 
upon thee, when thou comest to stand before the 
great Judge of the world, and to behold the killing 
frowns of his countenance, and to hear those bitter 
words of eternal displeasure from the mouth of God 
himself, ** Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, 
prepared for the devil and his angels f thou wilt 
then believe that God is heartily angry and offended 
with thee for thy sins. We shall find in that day, 
that the threatenings of God's word, which we now 
hear securely, and without terror, had a full signi- 
fication; or rather, that no words could convey to 
us the terror of them. What the Scripture says of 
the happiness and glory of the next life, is true also 
of the misery and punishments of the other world, 
that ** eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have 
entered into the heart of man, those terrible things 
which God bath reserved for the workers of ini* 
quity.'' 

But, above all, the direful sufierings of the Sob 
of God, when sin was but imputed to him, are a de- 
tBODStrniion of God s implacable hatred of sin ; for 
that lather than sin should go unpunished, God 
wm pleated to subject his 4»wn Son to the miffen- 



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itigs due to it: this plainly shews that he hated sin^ 
as much as he loved his own Son. 

But, (2dIy,)God may conceive a very great dis- 
pleasure against sin, and be highly incensed and 
provoked by it, and yet suspend the effects of his 
'displeasure, and defer the punishment of it for a 
great while: and to imagine otherwise, argues a 
gross mistake of the nature of God, arising from our 
not considering the attributes and perfections of God 
in conjunction and consistency with one another. 
When we consider one attribute of God singly, and 
separate it from the rest, and frame such wide and 
large apprehensions of it, as to exclude his other 
perfections, we have a false notion of God ; and the 
reason of this mistake is, because among men, an 
eminent degree of any one excellency doth com- 
monly shut out others ; because, in our narrow and 
finite nature, many perfections cannot stand toge- 
ther ; but it is quite otherwise in the Divine nature. 
In infinite perfection, all perfections do meet and 
consist together; one perfection doth not hinder 
and exclude another; and therefore, in our concep- 
tions of God, we are to take great heed that we do 
not raise any one attribute or perfection of God 
upon the ruin of the rest. 

So that it is a false imagination of God, when we 
80 attribute justice or anger to him, as to exclude 
his patience and long-suffering t for God is not im* 
potent in his anger, as we are ; every thing that pro-* 
Tokes him, doth not presently put him out of pa* 
tience, so that he cannot contain his wrath, and for- 
bear immediately to revenge himself upon sinners^ 
In this sense, God says of himself, (Isa< xxvii. 4.) 
^ Fury is not in me/' There is nothing of a rash 
and ungoverned passion in the wise and just God^ 



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ISl 

Every sio^ indeed, kindles hia anger, and provokes 
his displeasure against us« and, by our repeated and 
continued offences, we still add fuel to his wrath ; 
but it doth not of necessity instantly break forth like 
a consuming fire, and a devouring flame. The holy 
and righteous nature of God, makes him necessarily 
offended and displeased with the sins of men ; but 
as to the manifestation of his wrath, and the effects 
of his anger, his wisdom and goodness do regulate 
and determine the proper time and circuuMttances 
of punishment. 

3. From the patience of God, and the delay of 
punishment, men are apt to conclude, that God is 
not so severe in his nature as he is commonly repre* 
sented. It is true, he hath declared his displeasure 
against sin, and threatened it with dreadful punish- 
ments; which he may do, in great wisdom, to keep 
the world in awe and order : but great things are 
likewise spoken of his mercy, and of the wonder- 
ful delight he takes in the exercise of his mercy : 
so that, notwithstanding' all the threatenings which 
are denounced against sin, it is to be hoped, that, 
when sentences come to be passed, and judgment 
to be executed, God will remember mercy in 
the midst of judgment, and that mercy will tri* 
umpb over judgment; and that, as now bis pa- 
tience stays his hand, and turns away his wrath, 
so, at the last, the milder attributes of his good- 
ness and mercy will interpose and moderate the 
rigour and severity of his justice; and of this, his 
great patience and long-suffering towards sinners for 
the present, seems to be some kind of pledge and 
earnest : he that is so slow to anger, and so loath to 
execute punishment, may probably be prevailed 
upon, by his own pity and goodnesis, to remit it at 

VOL. Tli. K 1 



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the kist : tod this is Ae vao^ t^eflible, because it is 
granted fm mH bands, that no person is obliged t# 
^xecute bis thl^eatebings, as be is to make good bis 
promises : he that promiseth, passetb a right to an<^ 
other ; but he that threateneth, keeps the right and 
power of doing what he pl^seth in his own hands. 

I shall spesdc a little more folly to this, because it 
is almost incredible bow much men bear up them- 
selves upon Tain and gtonndless hopes of the bound- 
less mercy, of Crod, and ^' bless themselres in their 
hearts, saying, they shall have peace, though they 
waHc in the imagination of their hearts, to add drunk- 
enness to thirst ;" that is, though they still persist in 
their vices, and add 6ne degree of sin to another^ 

Now, for answer to thib, 

(1.) Let it be granted, that a bare threatening 
does not necessarily infer the certainty of the event ; 
and that the thing threatened shall infallibly como 
to pass: no person is obliged to perform his threaten* 
ings, as he is his promises ; the threatenings of God 
declare what sin deserves, and what th6 sinner may 
justly expebt. If he continue impenitent and incoitr* 
^ble. But then we are to take notice, that repent^ 
ance is the only condition that is implied in tli6 
threatenings of God, acnd will effectuaHy hfnder 
the exectttion of them: (Jer. xviii. 7 — 10.) '"'A* 
what instant I speak (says God) concerning a na« 
tion, and cimoeming a kingdom, to pluck up, afnd to 
pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation against 
whom I have pronotaced, torn from their evjl, I 
will ^repent <of the evil that I thought to do unto 
^em. 'And at w)iat»instant 1 shall «peak concern^ 
11^ a oatijon, and oonoevfting a kingdom, to build and 
to'plantit ; tf it do evil in my 'sight, and obey not mry 
t«>ice,'tbiii ^11 'I repent of the good where^vith I said 
I would benefit them." Now if, when God hath pro- 



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1S§ 

jmbed to dp good to a people, sin will hinder ^be 
jblessing. promised, and briog down judgraents upov 
tbem, much more when it is particularly threatened. 

But as to the case of final impenit<ency and nnber 
lief, God, that he might strengthen his threatening^ 
hath added a sign of immntability to them, baviiig 
confirmed them with an oath ; ^' I have swpi^n (saitlji 
the Lord) that they shall not enter into my rest :'* 
which, though it was spoken toXhe upbelieving Jews, 
the apostle to the Hebrews applies i^ to a final un- 
belief and impenitency under the gospel, of whi^jji 
;the infidelity of the Israelites was a type ai^d figure. 
Now, though God may remit of his threatenings, ye^ 
his oath is a plain declaration that he will not ; ber 
cause it signifies, the firm and immutable determi-^ 
nation of his will, and thereby puts an end to all 
doubts and controversies concerning the fulfilling 
of his threatenings. 

(2.) It is certainly much the wisest and safest 
way to believe the threatenings of God in the strict- 
ness and rigour , of them, unless there be some tacit 
condition evidently implied in them ; because if ^^ 
do qot believe them, and the thing prove otherwise, 
the consequence of our mistake is fatal and dreads 
ful. It is true, indeed, that God, by his threaten- 
ings, did intend to keep sinners in awe, and to deter 
them from sin : but if \ie had any where revealed, 
that he would not be rigorous in the execution p^f 
these threatenings, such a ^revelation would quit^ 
take off the edge apd terror of them, and contradict 
the end and design of them ; for threatenings signify 
very little, but upon this suppositipn, that, in^ll 
j>robabiHty, they will be executed: s^nd if ,tl)is bp 
true, it is the greatest madness and folly in ;thj& 
world to run tbe ha^rd of it. . ^, ,, 

K 2 



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124 

' (d.) As for those large declarations ^bicb tbe 
Scripture makes of the boundless mercy of God to 
sinners, we are to limit tbem, as the Scripture hath 
done, to tbe time and season of mercy, which is this 
life, and while we are in the way. This is the day 
of mercy and salvation; and when this life is ended, 
the opportunities of grace and mercy are past, and 
" the day of recompence and vengeance" will begin. 
Now God tries us, and offers mercy to us ; but if 
we obstinately refuse it, judgment will take hold 
of us. 

And then we must limit th6 mercy of God to the 
conditions upon which he offers it, which are, re* 
pentance for sins past, and sincere obedience for the 
future: but if men continue obstinate and impeni- 
tent, and encourage themselves in sin, from the 
mercy and patience of God ; this is not a case that 
admits. of mercy, but, on the contrary, his justice 
will triumph in the ruin and destruction of those 
who, instead of embracing the offers of his mercy, do 
despise and abuse them : ** He will laugh at their 
calamity, and mock when their fear comes ; when 
their fear comes as desolation, and their destruction 
as a whirlwind ; when distress and anguish cometh 
upon them, then they'' may ** call upon him, but he 
will not answer ; they" may ** seek him early, but 
they shall not find him."* If we ** despise the riches 
of God*s goodness, and long-suffering, and forbear- 
ance,** be knows how to handle us, and will do it 
to purpose ; '' vrith the froward he will shew him- 
self froward,** and will be, in a more especial man- 
ner, severe towards those who take encouragement 
from his mercy, to disbelieve and despise his threat- 
enings. And this God h^th as plainly told us, as 
words can express any thing: (Deat xxix. 10, 20.) 



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** Aod if it come to pass, that when he hearetii the 
words of this curse, he bless himself in his heart, . 
raying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the 
imagination of my heart, to adid drunkenness to 
thirst : the Lord will not spare him, but then the 
anger of the Lord, and his jealousy, shall smoke 
against that man, and all the curses that are written 
in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall 
blot out his name from under heaven.'' Whatever 
right and power God hath reserved to himself abont 
the execution of his threatenings, he hath plainly 
declared, that, of all others, those who encourage 
themselves in a sinful course, from the hopes of God's 
mercy, notwithstanding his threatenings, shall find no 
favour and mercy at his hand : whatever he may re- 
mit of his threatenings to others, he will certainly not 
spare those who believe so largely concerning the 
mercy of God, not with a mind to submit to the terms 
of it, but to presume so much the more^upon it. 

(4.) God hath not been wanting to shew some 
remarkable instances of bis severity towards sinners 
in this world. As he is pleased sometimes to give 
good men some foretastes of heaven, and earnests 
of their future happiness ; so likewise, by some pre- 
sent stroke, to let sinners feel what they are to ex- 
pect hereafter; some sparks of hell do now and 
then fall upon the consciences of sinners. That fear 
which is sometimes kindled in men's consciences in 
this life, that horrible anguish, and those unspeak- 
able terrors which some sinners have had espperience 
of in this world, may serve to forewarn us of " the 
wrath which is to come," and to convince us of the' 
reality of those expressions of the torments of hell, 
by '' the worm that dies not, and the fire that is not 
quenched." That miraculous deluge, which swal- 



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Idwed up the old world ; ffaathelf which was rained' 
down from heaven in those terrible if;hdwers of fire 
and brimstone, to consume Sodom and Gomorrah ; 
the earth opening' her mouth upon Corah and his 
seditious company, to let them down, as it were^ 
quick hito hell : these, and many other remarkable 
judgments of God, in several ages, upon particular 
persons, and upon cities and nations, may satisfy 
us, in some measure, of the severity of God against 
sin, and be, as it were, pledges to assure sinners of the 
insupportable misery and torments of the next life. 

(5.) The argument is much stronger the other 
v^ay, that because the punishment of sinners is de- 
layed so long, therefore it will be much heavier and 
sevjerer when it comes; that the wrath of God is 
growing all this while, and as we fill up the mea* 
sures of our sins, he fills the phial'of his wrath: 
(Rom. ii. 5.) •' And according to thy hard and im- 
penitent heart, treasurest up to thyself wrath against, 
the day of wrath, and the revelation of the righteous 
judgment of God." God now keeps in his displea* 
-sure ; but all the while we go on in an impenitent 
course, the wrath of God is continually increasing, 
and will at last be manifested by the righteous judg- 
ment of God upon sinners. God now exerciseth 
and displayeth his milder attributes, his goodness, 
and mercy, and patience; but these will not always' 
hold out : there is a dreadful day a coming, wherein 
(aS the apostle speaks) God will " shew his wrath, 
add make his power known,** after he hath **endured 
with much long-suffering the vessels of Wrath fitted 
for destruction." All this long time of God s pa- 
ti^nc^ and forbearance his wrath is kindling, and he 
ii^ whetting his glittering sword, and making sharp 
hi^ arrows^ and this long preparation doth portend^ 



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191 

m, n9ch more draadiul execiatioo ; so that me should 
reasoD thus, from the long-sufferiog of God — God 
bean with U8» aad spares us at present, and keeps 
to bis anger ; therefore if we go on to provoke hio^ 
time will come when he wili not spare, hot his anger 
will flame forth, and bis jealousy smoke against ua. 
This is but reasonable to expect, that they who ia 
this world forsake their own mercies, the mercy of 
God in the next should forsake them. 

4, Another false conclusion^ which men draw 
from the delay of punishment, is, that because it ia 
delayed, therefore it is not so certain: the sinner 
oscapes for the present ; and though he have some 
misgivings and fearful apprehensions of the future, 
yet he hopes his fears may be greater than his 
danger. 

It is true, indeed, we are not so certain of the 
misery of wicked men in another world, as if it were 
present, and we lay groaning under the weight of it : 
such a certainty as this, would not only leave no 
place for doubting, but even for that which we pro- 
perly and strictly call faith ; for ** faith is the evir 
dence of things not seen :" but sure we have other 
faculties besides sense to judge of things by ; we 
may be sufficiently certain of many things which are 
neither present nor sensible, of many things past and 
future, upon good ground and testimony : we are 
anre that we were bom, and yet we have no rcK 
membrance of it; we are certain that we fhall die, 
though we never had the experience of it Things 
may be certain in their causes, as well as in their 
present existence, if the causes be certain. The 
truth of Grod, who hath declared these things to us» 
is an abundant ground of assurance to us, though 
they be at a great distance : theceiiainfy of thingfi 



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188 

is not shaken by our wavering belief concerning- 
them. 

Besides, the very light of nature, and the common 
reason of mankind, hath always made a contrary 
inference from the long-suffering of God, and the 
delay of present punishment. Though men are apt 
to think, that because judgment is deferred, there- 
fore it is not certain, yet the very light of nature 
hath taught men to reason otherwise ; that because 
God is so patient to sinners in this life, therefore 
there will a time come when they shall be punished ; 
that because this life is a time of trial and forbear- 
ance, therefore there shall be another state after thia 
life, which shall be a season of recompence. And 
by this argument chiefly it was, that the wisest of 
the heathen satisfied themselves concerning another 
state after this life, and answered the troublesome 
objection against the providence of God, from the 
unequal administration of things in theworld, so visi- 
ble in the afflictions and sufferings of goo^ men, and 
the prosperity of the wicked; viz. that there would 
be another state that would adjust all these matters, 
and set them straight, when good and bad men 
should receive the full recompence of their deeds. 

The 5th and last false conclusion which men draw 
from the long-suffering of God, and the delay of 
punishment, is this ; That it is, however, probably, 
at some distance, and therefore they may sin yet a 
while longer, and all this danger may be prevented 
time (enough, by a future repentance in our old age, 
or at the hour of death ; and they are confirmed very 
much in this hope, because they see men much worse 
than themselves, great criminals and malefactors, 
upon two or three days* warning, to perform this 
work of repentance very substantially, and to die 



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with great comlbrt and assurance of their salvation. 
This is the most common delusion of all the rest, 
and hath been, I am afraid, the ruin of more souls 
than all the other which I have mentioned ; they 
may have slain their thousands, but this its ten thou- 
sands. 

For answer to this, be pleased seriously to lay to 
heart these following considerations, most of which 
I shall speak but briefly to; because I have, upon 
other occasions, spoken largely to them. 

(1.) If there be a future judgment, then it is cer- 
tain, at how great a distance soever it may be. That 
which shall be a thousand years hence, will certainly 
be; and it is but very small comiPort and encourage- 
ment, considering the vast disproportion between 
tiitie and eternity, to think, that after twenty or forty 
years shall be past and gone, then must 1 enter upon 
eternal misery; then will those intolerable torments 
b^in, which shall never have an end. 

(iJ) But it is not certain that it is at such a dis* 
tance : when we *^ put from us the evil day," it is, 
many times, nearer to us than we are aware ; and 
when we think the judgment of God is at a great 
distance, the Judge may be near, even at the door. 
Our times are not in our own hands, but we are 
perfectly at the disposal of another, who, when he 
pleaseth, can put a period to them, and cause our 
breath to cease from our nostrils, and we shall not 
be : '* There is no man hath power over the spirit, 
to retain the spirit ; neither hath he power in the 
day of death,** saith the wise man, a little before the 
textt Thou dreamest, perhaps, of many years' con- 
tinuance in this world, and, perhaps, in the height 
of this vain imagination, ** the .decree is sealed, and 
the commandment come forth" to summon thee out 



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150. 

of thia world, and thou art jast dropping into that 
misery^ which thou iaDciegrt to be at such a distance ; 
whilst thou art vainly promising thyself the ease of 
many years, God may say to thee, " Thou fopl, this 
night shall thy eool be required of thee ;" and then, 
where are all thy hopes ? 

(3.) Supposing the evil day were at a considerable 
distance, yet men run an infinite hazard in venturing 
all the hopes of their salvation upon a future re- 
pentance: for what knowest thou, O man! but thou- 
mayest be surprised by a sudden stroke, which may 
give thee no warning, leave thee no space of repent-^ 
anee ? A violent disease may seize upon thee, which 
may disorder thy understanding, and so weaken all 
thy faculties, as to render thee unfit for all reason* 
able operations : at the best how unfit are we for the 
most serious work of our lives, when we are hardly 
fit to do any thing? Old age is a very unseasonable 
time for repentance, when we are full of weakne8» 
and infirmity, and our minds are crooked and bowed 
down by vice, as our bodies are by age, and as hard 
to be recovered to their first straightness; much more= 
is it an improper time for this work, when sicknesa 
and old age meet together. There are two things 
in which men, in other things wise enough, do usually 
miscarry ; in putting off the making of their wills» 
and their repentance, until it be too late. Men had 
need then be of sound understanding, and perfect 
memory, when they set about matters of so great* 
consequence in respect of their temporal and eternal 
concernments: especially, when men have the hap- 
piness of all eternity to take care of and provide for, 
they had need have their understandings about tbem> 
and all the advantages of leisure and consideration, 
to make a sober reflection upon their past lives, and* 



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make tip tfaetr accouDts with God, and to set all 
things* right between him and them ; and it is weU 
if, aft^r all, a repentance Mrilfally deferred so Jongy 
so short and imperfect, so confosed and hdddled 
up; will at last be accepted as a tolerable atonement 
for the crimes and miscarriages of a long life. 

(4.) Suppose thou wertsure to repent before tho» 
leavest the world, and to do this work thoroughly,* 
which no man can promise to himself, that delibe^ 
rately delays it ; yet this can be no reasonable en- 
couragement to go on in an evil course, because we 
do but hereby aggravate our own trouble, and trear^ 
sure up much more sorrow and affliction to ourselves^ 
against the day of repentance, and cobsequently 
sin on, in hopes of being hereafter so much the more 
troubled and grieved for what we have done; as if 
a man should go on to break the laws, in hopes of a 
more severe and exemplary punishment : sure this 
can be no encouragement or ground of hope to any 
reasonabfe and considerate man* 

Lastly, As to the encouragement which mea 
take from the sudden repentance of great criminals 
and malefactors, and their dying with so much 
comfort and assurance ; if this be well considered, 
there is little comfort to be fetched from such exam« 
jiles. For, 

1st, Though a sincere repentance in such circum^ 
fiitances be possible ; yet it is almost impossible for 
the party himself concerned, much more for others, 
upon any good ground, to judge when itis sincere^ 
God, who knows the hearts of men, and whether, if 
they bad lived longer, they would, in the futare 
course of their lives, have justified and made good 
their repentance and good resolutions, only knows 
the sincerity of it. . • * 



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132 

But, 2dly, No certain judgment is to be made for 
the comfort and confidence of the party concerned ; 
for the business is not ^bat comfort and confi- 
dence men have, but what ground they have for it ; 
and whereas men are apt piously to suppose that 
so extraordinary a comfort and assurance is wrought 
in them by the Spirit of God, nothing is more uncer* 
tain : because we sometimes see those who give no 
such testimony of their repentance, to die with 
every whit as much courage, and comfort, and con- 
fident persuasion of their salvation, as those that do» 
But this, certainly, is not from the Spirit of God : a 
natural obstinacy and courage may carr}* men a 
great way ; and false and mistaken principles may 
fill men, for the present, with as much comfort and 
confidence as well-grounded hopes. In the church 
of Rome, great numbers of those who have led very 
wicked lives, after a formal confession and absolu- 
tion, and some good words of encouragement from 
the priest, die as full of peace and comfort, to all ap- 
pearance, as the best of men. 

Indeed, it is very natural to men who find them* 
selves in a desperate condition to be strangely 
elevated and raised, upon any hopes of escaping so 
great a danger as they apprehend themselves to be 
in ; especially if these hopes be given them by a 
grave man, of whose piety and judgment they have 
a venerable opinion. When men have the sentence 
of death in themselves, as all wicked livers must 
have, they are naturally apt to be overjoyed at the 
unexpected news of a pardon. 

To speak my mind freely in this matter, I have 
no great opinion of that extraordinary comfort and 
confidence which some have, upon a sudden re- 
pentance, for ^eat and flagrant crimes ; because | 



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135 

cinnot disoopi any sufficient ground for it t think 
great humility and dejection of mind^ and a doubt«» 
fulapprehension of their condition^ next almost tott 
dcHpair of it, would much better become them ; be- 
cause their case is really so very doubtful in itself. 
There is great reason for the repentance of such 
persons, and it becomes tbem well ; but I see very 
little reason for their great comfort and confidence, 
nor does it become their circumstances and condi- 
tion. Let them exercise as deep repentance as is 
possible, and *^ bring forth all the fruits meet for it" 
that are possible in so short a time : let them bumble 
themselves before God, and pray incessantly to him, 
day and night, for mercy ; make all the reparation 
they can, for the injuries they have done, by confes- 
sion, and acknowledgment, and by making satisfac- 
tion to the parties injured, if it be in their power; 
by giving alms to the poor ; by warning others, and 
endeavouring to reclaim them to a better mind, and 
course of life ; and for the rest, humbly commit 
themselves to the mercy of God, in Jesus Christ: 
let them imitate, as near as they can, the behaviour 
of the penitent thief, the only example the Scripture 
has left us of a late repentance that proved effec** 
tual, who gave the greatest testimony that could be 
of a penitent sorrow for his sins, Imd of his faith 
in the Saviour of the world, by a generous and cou- 
rageous owning of him in the midst of his disgrace 
and suffering, when even his own disciples had de- 
nied and forsaken him : but we do not find in him 
any signs of extraordinary comfort, much less of 
confidence, but he humbly commended himself to 
the mercy and goodness of his Saviour, saying, 
'* Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy 
kingdom."" 



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SERMON CLI. 

THE LONG-SUFFERING OF GOD. 

JBeeause sentence against an evil work is not exeeuted 
speedily y therefore the heart of the sons of iHen i$ 
fully set in them to do evil. — Eccles. viii. 11. 

J HAVE considered how apt men are to abuse the 
long-suffering of God, to the hardening apd encou- 
jaging of themselves in sin, and when this comes to 
pass ; where I considered the several false conclu^ 
;Bions which sinners draw from the delay of punish- 
ment, as if there were no God, or providence, or 
difference of good and evil ; or else, as is more 
commonly pretended, that sin is not so great an ?vil» 
and that God is not so highly offended at it, or that 
God is not so severe as he is represented ; that the 
punishment of sin is not so certain; or, however, it 
is at a distance, and may be prevented by a future 
repentance: all which I have spoken fully to, ^nd 
endeavoured to shew the fallacy and unreasonable* 
ness of them. I shall now proceed to the 

Third and last thing I propounded, which was, 
to auswer ai\; objection to which this discourse 
may seem liable, and that is this ; If the long-suf- 
fering of God be the occasion of men's hardness and 
impenitency, then why is God so patient to sinners^ 
when they are so prone to abuse his goodness and 
patience? And how is it goodness in God to for^ 
bear sinners so long, when this forbearance of bis is 
80 apt to minister to them an occasion of their far- 
ther mischief and greater ruin? It should seeip, 
according to this, that it would be much greats 



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133 

44ercf to the gfetftest pBtt of 8itH)er8« not te be 'pa* 
<tieBt toward them at ail; but inetantly, UpdQ the 
first oocaiAOiiaDd pro?ooatioQ, to cut them off, and 
eo to put a stop to their wickedoeBS, aod to binder 
4he» (rota making themselves nK>re miserable, by 
increasing^ their guilt* and *' treasuring up wrath to 
.themselves against the day of wrath.'* 

This is the objection ; and because it seems to 
be of some weight, I shall endeavour to return a sa^ 
%ts£»ctory answer to it in these following particulars. 
-And, 

I. 1 ask the sinner if he will stand to this : art 
thou serious, and veouldest thou, in good eamestp 
liave God to deal thus with tliee, to take the very 
first advantage to destroy thee, or turn thee into hell« 
aad .to make thee miserable beyond all hopes of re^ 
covery ? Consider of it again. Doet thou think it 
llesiraUe, that God shall deal thus with thee, and kt 
fly his judgments upon thee, so soon as ever thou 
hast sinned? Knot, why <}o men trifle, and mako 
an objection against the long^-suflbring of God^ 
^hioh they would be very loath should be made 
gpood upon them ? 

II. It TB likewise to be considered, that the longw 
autifering of God towards sinners is not a total forw 
bearanoe : it is usually sa mixed with afflictions and 
i^odgraeots of one kind or other, upon ourselves or 
others, as to be a sufficient warning to us, if we 
fwould consider and lay it to heart, to ^^^in no 
iDore, lest a worse thing eome upon us:'' lest that 
judgDoent which we saw inflicted upon others coma 
iMmie.to «8. And is not this great -goodness to warn 
us, when he might destroy us? to leave room for 4 
retreat, when he might put our case past remedy ? 

: AH this .time of God's patience he threatens sin* 



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136 

ners, to awaken them out of their security; he 
puuisheth them geDtly, that we may have no ground 
to hope for impunity ; he makes examples of 8ome 
in a more severe and remarkable manner, that 
others may hear, and fear, and be afraid to commit 
the like sins, lest the like pnnishmenj; overtake 
them ; he whips some offenders before our eyes, 
to shew us what sin deserves, and what we also may 
justly expect, if we do the same thing: and will 
nothing be a warning to us, but our own sufferings I 
Nay, God doth usually send some judgment or 
other upon every sinner in this life; he lets him 
feel the rod, that he may know that it is '* an evil and 
bitter thing to sin against him/' He exerciseth 
men with many afflictions, and crosses, and disap- 
pointments, which their own consciences tell them 
are the just recompences of their deeds; and by 
these lighter strokes, he gives us a merciful warning 
to avoid his heavier blows ; when mercy alone will 
not work upon us and win us, but, being fed to the full, 
we grow wanton and foolish, he administers physic 
to us by affliction, and by adversity endeavours to 
bring us to consideration and a sober mind ; and 
many have been cured this way, and the judg- 
ments of God have done them that good, which his 
mercies and blessings could not; for God would 
save us any way, by his mercy or by his judgment, 
by sickness orby health, by plenty or by want, by 
what we desire, or by what we dread ; so desirous 
is he of our repentance and happiness, that he 
leaves no method unattempted that may probably 
do us good ; he strikes upon every passion in the 
heart of man ; he works upon our love by his good- 
ness, upon our hopes by his promises, and upon our 
fears, first by his threatenings, and if they be not 



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157 

etTectnuh tben by his judgments; hie friefif evcfjr 
aff^tion, and takes hold of it, if by any means he 
may draw ns to himself; and will nothing vi^tn u^ 
bat what will ruin uSj^ and render our cas^^ desperate 
and past hope! 

And if any sinner be firee from outward afflictions 
and sufferings, yet sin never fails to carry its own 
punishment along with it; thefe is a secret sting 
and woi^, a Divine nemesis and revenge that is bred 
in the bowels of every sin, atid mbkes it a heavy 
punishment to itself; the conscience of a sinner 
doth frequently torment him, and his guilt haunts 
and dogs him wherever he goes; fot whenever a man 
commits a known and wilful sin, he drinks doWn 
poison, which, though it may work slowly, yet it 
will give him many a gripe, and, if no means be 
used to expel it, will destroy him at last. 

So that the long-suffering of God is wisely or^ 
dered, and there is such a mixture of judgments in 
it, as is sufficient to awaken sinners, and tnnch 
more apt to deter them from siir, than to encourage 
them to go on and continue in it. 

III. Nothing is farther from the intention of God 
than to harden men by his long-suffering. This the 
Scripture most expressly declared ; (2 Pet. iH. 9.) 
" He is long-suffering to us-ward> not willing that 
toy should perish, but that all should C6me to re- 
pentance." He hath a very gracious and merciful 
design in his patience towards sinners, and is there- 
fore good, that he may make us so, and that we may 
cease to do evil. The event of God's long-suffering 
may, by onr^ own fault and abuse of it, prove our 
Tuin; but the design and intention of iHs out re- 
pentance. ^^ He winks at the sins of men (Saith the 
son of IShnaich) that they may repent." He passeth 

VOL. VII. L 



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138 

them by, and does not take speedy vengeance upon 
sinners for them, that they may have time to repent 
of them, and ** to make their peace with them while 
they are yet in the way." 

Nay, his long-suffering doth not only give space 
for repentance, but is a great argument and encou- 
ragement to it. That he is so loath to surprise sin- 
ners, that he gives them the liberty of second 
thoughts, iime to reflect upon themselves, to consi- 
der what they have done, and to retract it by re- 
pentance, is a sufficient intimation that he hath no 
mind to ruin us, that ** he desires not the death of a 
sinner, but rather that he should turn from his wick- 
edness and live." And should not this goodness of 
his make us sorry that we have offended him ? Doth 
it not naturally lead and invite us to repentance? 
What other interpretation can we make of his pa- 
tience^ what other use in reason should we make of 
it, but to repent and return that we may be saved? 

IV. There is nothing in the long-suffering of God, 
that is in truth any ground of encouragement to 
men in an evil course ; the proper and natural ten- 
dency of God's goodness is to lead men to repent- 
ance, and by repentance to bring them to happiness ; 
(Rom. ii. 4.) ** Despisest thou the riches of his 
goodness, and patience, and long-suffering, not 
knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to 
repentance r" This St. Peter, with relation to these 
very words of St. Paul, interprets, *' leading to sal- 
vation ;'' (2 Pet. iii. 15.) '' And account that the 
long-suffering of our Lord is salvation, as our be- 
loved brother Paul also hath written unto you.'' 
Now where did St. Paul write so, unless in this 
text ; ** not knowing that the goodness of God leads 
to repentance ?" It is not only great ignorance, and 



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139 

a rery^gross mistake, to think that it is the design 
and^ intention of God's patience and long-suffering 
to encourage men in sin; but likewise to thinks 
that, in the nature of the thing, goodness can have 
any tendency to make men evil ; ^' not knowing 
that the goodness of God leads to repentance." 

V. That through the long-suffering of God sin- 
ners are hardened in their evil ways, is wholly to be 
ascribed to their abuse of God's goodness ; it is 
neither the end and intention, nor th€ proper and 
natural effect of the thing, but the accidental ef ent 
of it through our own fault. And is this any real 
objection against the long-suffering of God ? May 
not God be patient, though sinners be impenitent? 
May not he be good, though we be so foolish as to 
make an ill use of his goodness ? Because inen are 
apt to abuse the mercies and favours of God, is it 
therefore a fault in him to bestow them upon us? 
Is it not enough for us to abuse them, but will we 
challenge God also of unkindness in giving them ? 
May not God use wise and fitting means for our re- 
covery, because we are so foolish as not to make a 
wise use of them? And must he be charged with 
our ruin, because he seeks by all tneans to prevent it? 
Is. it not enough to be injurious to ourselves, but will 
we be unthankful to God also ? When God hath 
laid out 'Vthe riches of his goodness and patience" 
upon sinners, will they challenge him as accessary 
to their ruin? As if a foolish heir, that hath pro- 
digally wasted the fair estate that was left him, 
should be so far from blaming himself, as to charge 
bis father with undoing him. 'Are these the best 
returns which the infinite mercy and patience of 
Gpd hath deserved from us? '* Do we thus requite 
the Lord, foolish people and unwise!" 

L 2 



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140 

God's patience w<Nild Bf^ve^siQilers, but they rum 
tbeoiselveB by their abuse ef it : let the blame theQ 
lie where it is du^ aad let God have the gloi^ of 
liis goodpessr though men refuse the benefit and 
advantage pf it. 

VL And lastly; But because, this objection 
pincbeth hardest in one point, via. that God cer- 
tainly foresees that a great many will abuse his long- 
sufiering^ to the increasiBg of their guilt, tod the 
aggravating^ of their, condemnation ; and hoir is 
loug-sufiering any mercy and goodness to those, 
who he certainly foreknown will in the event be so 
nmcfa the more miserable, for having had so mucb 
patience extended to them? Therefore, for a full 
fmswer, I desire these six things may be considered: 
1. That God designs this life for the trial of our 
<4>edience, that, according as we behave ourselves^ 
he may reward or punish us in another worlds 
. 24 That there could be no trial of obedience, nor 
any capacity of rewards aul punishments, but upon 
the supposition of freedom and liberty ; that is, that 
we do not do what Vfe do upon force and neces-^ 
atyt but upon free choice* 

3.. That God, by virtue of the infinite perfection 
of his knowledge, does clearly and certainly fore- 
see all future events, even those which are moart con* 
tiagent^ such as are the arbitrary actions of free and 
voluntary agents. This I know hath been dmied, 
but without reason ; since it is not only contrary to 
the.com(mon apprehensions of mankind, from the 
▼ery light of nature, that God should not foreknow 
future events, but to clear and express Scripture ; and 
that in such instances, for the sake of which they 
deny God's fore*ktiowledge, in general^ of the future 
actions of free and voluntary agents ; I mean, that 



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fbe Scrqitore eo^uressly declarpt God'fi tktaramtlie 
fore-rknowledge of the most wicked actiras ; iem the 
crocifying of ChriBt, who is 8aid> ** nccordiog to tbe 
determinate counsel and fore-knowledge of God,"^ to 
have been ^* by wicked hands crucified and slain." 

4. That the bare fore-knowledge of things future 
bath no more influence uppn them to make tbem to 
be, than the sight and knowledge of things present 
hath upon them to make them to be present. I m^r 
«ee or know that the sun is ri^en, without being the 
cause of its rising; «nd no move is bare knowledge 
of future events the cause that they are when they 
are. And if any man ask, how God can certainly 
foreknow things which depend upon free and arbi- 
trary causes, unless be do some way decree and de- 
termine them ? I answer, that this is not a fair and 
reasonable demand to ask of men, who have but finite 
understandings, to make out and declare all the 
ways that infinite knowledge hath of knowing mod 
of foreseeing the actions of free creatures, without 
prejudice to their liberty and freedom of actingc 
However, it is, of the two, much more credible to 
reason, that infinite knowledge should certainty 
foreknow things, which our understandings cannot 
imagine how tbey should be foreknown^ thao that 
God should any ways be tbe author of sin^ by de- 
termining and decreeing the wicked actions of men. 
The first only argues the imperfection of our undetw 
standing ; but the other lays the greatest blemish 
and imperfection that can be upon the Divine 
nature. 

So that this difficult controversy about the fovo- 
knowledge of God is brought to this point, whether 
a man had better believe that infinite knowledge 
m$y be able tQ foreknow things iu^r way whicb oar 



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finite understanding cannot comprehend; or to 
ascribe something to God, from whence it would 
unavoidably follow, that he is the anthor of sin. 
The first is only a modest and just acknowledg- 
ment of our own ignorance, the last is the utmost 
and greatest absurdity that a man can be brought 
to ; and to say that we cannot believe the fore-know- 
ledge of God, unless we can make out the particular 
manner of it, is more unreasonable, than if an igno- 
rant Ulan should deny a difficult proposition in Eu- 
clid, or Archimedes, to be demonstrated, because 
he knows not how to demonstrate it. 

5. And consequently, fore^knowledge and liberty 
may very well consist ; and, notwithstanding God's 
fore-knowledge of what men will do, they may be 
as free as if he did not foreknow it And, 

Lastly, That God doth not deal with men ac- 
cording to his fore-knowledge of the good or bad 
use of their liberty, but according to the nature and 
reason of things ; and therefore, if he be long-sufier^ 
ing toward sinners, and do not cut them off upon 
the first provocation, but give them a space and op- 
portunity of repentance, and use all proper means 
and arguments to bring them to repentance^ and be 
ready to afford his grace to excite good resolutions 
in them, and to second and assist them, and they 
refuse and resist all this ; their wilful obstinacy and 
impenitency is as culpable, and God's goodness and 
patience as much to be acknowledged, as if God 
did not foresee the abuse of it ; because his foresight 
and knowledge of what they would do laid no ne- 
cessity upon them to do what they did. 

If a prince had the privilege of fore-knowledge, 
as God hath, and did certainly foresee that a great 
niduy of his s\ril>^cts would ce^rtaioly incur the po- 



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143 

nalty of his laws, and that others would abuse his 
goodness and clemency to them ; yet, if he would 
govern them like free and reasonable creatures,' he 
ought to make the same wise laws to restrain their 
exorbitancy, and to use' the same clemency in all 
cases that did fairly admit of it, as if he did not at 
all foresee what they would do, nor how they would 
abuse his clemency ; for it is nevertheless fit to 
make wise and reasonable laws, and to govern with 
equity and clemency, though it were certaiuly fore- 
seen that they that are governed would act very 
foolishly and unreasonably in the use of their liberty. 
It is great goodness in God to give men the means 
and opportunity of being saved, though they abuse 
his goodness to their farther ruin ; and he may be 
heartily grieved for that folly and obstinacy in men, 
which he certainly foresees will end in their ruin ; 
and may, with great seriousness and sincerity, wish 
they would do otherwise, and were as ** wise to do 
good,** as they are " wilful to do evil.** And thus 
he is represented iu Scripture, as regretting the mis- 
chief which men wilfully bring- upon themselves : 
" O that they were wise! O that they would under^ 
stand, and consider their latter end !** 

And this is sufficient to vindicate the goodness 
of Ood in his patience and long-suffering to sinners, 
and to make them wholly guilty of all that beials 
them for their wilful contempt and abuse of it 

I shall draw some inferences from this whole dis- 
course upon this argument 

I. This shews the unreasonableness and perverse 
disingenuity of men, who take occasion to harden 
and encourage themselves in sin from the long-suf- 
fering of God, which, above all things in the world, 
should melt and soften them. Thou hast sinned, 



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aad art liaUe to tbe jueticeof God; sefitepceis, 
gope forth, bnt God respite^ the executioa of it, and 
hath granted thee a reprieve, and time and oppor- 
tunity to aae out thy pardon. Now what use ought 
we in reason to make of this patience of God to- 
wards us ? We ought certainly ** to break off our 
^ins by" a speedy '* repentance, lest iniquity be our 
ruin;" immediately to sue out our pardon, and ** to 
make our peace with God, while we are yet in the 
way," and to resolve never any more willingly to 
offend that God, who is so gracious and merciful, 
so long-suffering and full of compassion. But what 
use do men commonly make of it ? They take oc- 
casion to confirm and strengthen themselves in (heir 
wickedness, and to reason themselves into vain and 
grouudless hopes of impunity. Now what a folly 
is this, because punishment doth not come, therefore 
to hasten it, and to draw it down upon ourselves ? 
Because it hath not yet overtaken us, therefore to 
go forth and meet it ? Because there is yet a pos- 
sibility of escaping it, therefore to take a certain 
course to make it unavoidable ? Because there is 
yet hope concerning us, therefore to make our case 
desperate and past remedy? See how unreason- 
ably meo bring ruin upon themselves ; so that well 
might the Psalmist ask that question, ^' Have all 
the workers of iniquity no knowledge ?" 

But their folly and unreasonableness is not so 
great, but their perverseness and disingenuity is 
greater* To sin because God is long-suffering, is, 
♦* to be evil because he is good," and to provojce 
I)[im, because he spares us : it is to strive with God, 
and to contend with his goodness, as if we were re- 
solved to try the utmost length of his, patience; and 
t^ecause God is loath to punish, therefore to urge 



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and lOTportpve biiq U> that which is go contrary ia 
his inclination. 

IL This may ^rve to convince men of the great 
evil and danger of thu^ abasing the long-suffering of 
God. It is a provocation of the highest nature, be- 
cause it is to trample upon his dearest attributes, 
those which be most delights and glpries in, hia 
gopdness and inercy; for the long-suffering of God 
is his goodness to |he guilty, and his mercy to those 
Yfho deserve to be miserable. 

Nothing makes our ruin more certain, more 
speedy, and more intolerable, than the abuse of 
God^s goodness and patience. After God had 
borne long with that rebellious people, the childreq 
of Israel, and, notwithstanding all their murmarings, 
all their infidelity and impenitency, had sparec| 
them ten times, at last he sets his seal to their ruin : 
(Heh. iii. 8, 9.) *^ Harden not your hearts, as in the 
provocation in the day of temptation in the wilder^ 
ness : when your fathers proved me, and saw my 
works forty years.'' This was a high provo'catioa 
indeed, to harden their hearts under the patience 
and long-suffering of God, after forty years' trial and 
experience of it: (ver. 10.) "Wherefore I wa« 
grieved with that generation, and said. They are a 
people that do err in their hearts, for they have not 
known my ways.** And what was the issue of, all 
this? Upon this God takes up a fixed resolution to 
bear w> longer with them, but to cut them off from 
the blessings he had promised to bestow upon them; 
'^ He sware in his wrath that they should not enter 
into his rest; — ^To whom sware he, that they should 
oot enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?" 
Or as the word may foe rendered, ''to them that were 
disobedient ?" that is, to them who went on in their 



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146 

rebellion against him, after he had suffered their, 
maimers forty years. 

And as the abuse of God^s patience renders our 
destruction more certain, so more speedy and^ more 
intolerable. We think, that because God suffers 
long he will suffer always ; and because punishment 
is delayed, therefore it will never come ; but it will 
come the sooner for this: so our Lord tells us, 
(Luke xii.) when the servant said, his lord de- 
layed his coming ; ** the lord of that servant shall 
come in a day that he looks not for him, and at an 
hour when he is not aware, and shall cut him in 
sunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypo- 
crites." None so like to be surprised by the judg- 
ment of God, as those who trespass so boldly upon 
his patience. 

IlL To persuade us to make a right use of the 
patience and long-suffering of God, and to comply 
with the merciful end ^nd design of God therein. 
, 1. It is the design of God's long-suffering to give 
us a space of repentance. Were it not that God 
had this design and reasonable expectation from 
US, he would not reprieve a sinner for one moment, 
bnt would execute his judgments upon him so soon 
as ever he had offended. This our Saviour declares 
to us by the parable of the fig-tree, (Luke xiii. 6.) 
Were it not that God expects from us the fruit of 
repentance, he would cut us down, and not suffer 
Us to cumber the ground : after he had '* waited 
three years, seeking fruit and finding none, he spares 
it one year more, to see if it would bear fruit." 

2. The long-suffering of God is a great encou- 
ragement to repentance. We see by his patience 
that he is not ready to take advantage against us ; 
that he spares us when we oflfend, is a very good 



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147 

sigQ that he will forgiTe us if we repent Thus na^ 
tural light would reason ; and so the King of Nine- 
veh, a heathen, reasons, '* Who can tell if God will 
torn and repent ?" But we are fully assured of this 
by the gracious declarations of the gospel, and the 
way of pardon and forgiveness, which is therein esta- 
blished through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ, 
who was made a ''propitiation for the sins of the 
whole world.** 

Therefore the long-suffering of God should be a 
poWerful argument to us, " to break off our sins by 
repentance :" for this is the end of God's patience ; 
'< He is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that 
any should perish, but that all should come to re- 
pentance. He hath no pleasure in the death of the 
wicked, but thajt the wicked should turn from his 
way and live." God every where expresseth a vehe- 
ment desire and earnest expectation of our repent- 
ance and conversion. (Jer. iv. 14.) '' O Jerusalem 1 
wash thy heart from wickedness, that thou may est 
be saved.** And, (ctiap. xiii. 27.) " Woe unto thee, 
Jerusalem! wilt thou not be made clean? when shall it 
once be?" He who is so patient as to the punish- 
ment of our sins, is almost impatient of our repent- 
ance for them ; " Wilt thou not be made dean ? when 
shall it once be?** And can We stand out against 
his earnest desire of our happiness, whom we have 
so often and so long provoked to make us miserable ? 
. Let us then return into ourselves, and think seri- 
ously what our case and condition is ; how we have 
lived, and how long the patience of God hath suf- 
fered our manners, and waited for our repentance, 
and how inevitable and intolerable the misery of 
those must be who live and die in the contempt and 
abuse of it; let us heartily repent of our wicked 



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lively wd say, '* WM law w* dooe ?" How «(«-«)€«« 
haYQ we been of oar own happio^n^t ^^d what pfunf 
have we takao to uqdo ouraelves ! 

Let us speedily get about this work» beeftti^e wt 
do not koow how Ipog the patience of God may )a«tt 
and the opportunities of our salvation be continuad 
to U0. This day of 6od> grace and patience wiU 
have an end; therefore^ as the prof)4iet eiihort^^ 
(Isa. Iv. 6.) ** Seek the Lord while he niay b^ (bund, 
and call upon him while he is near^" Now God 
l^cioualy invites sinners to come to him> and it 
ready to receive them ; nay, if they do bnt mo?? 
towards him, he is ready to go forth and meet them 
half way; bnt the time will come, when he wlU bid 
them depart from him ; when they shall cry> '^X«ord^ 
Lord, open unto us," and the door p( mercy HbaU 
be shqt against them. 

Ail the wbile thou delayest this necessary wotk* 
thou ventureet thy immortal soul, and* pattest thy 
eternal sal vationupon a desperate hazard ; and should 
God snatch thee suddenly away in an impomtent 
9tate« what would become of thee? Thou art yet 
in the way, and God is yet reconcileable, but death 
is not far 0S9 and perhaps much nearer to thee than 
thou art aware ; at the best thy life is uncertain^ 
and death will infallibly put a period to this day of 
God'si grace and patience. 

Repentance is a work so necessary, that methinki 
no man should lose so much tim^ as to deliberate, 
whether he should set about it ov not } J>e necM^ 
sariis nulla est deliberatio; *^No man deliberates 
about what he must do, or bo undone if he de it 
not" It is a work of so great consequence and toor 
comment, and the delay of it 90 infinitely dangerr 
ou£[, that one would think no wise ma^ cpuld an* 



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149 

tertaiQ a thought of deferring it. What greater folly 
and stupidity- can there be, than for men to venture 
their immortal souls, and to ran an apparent hazard 
in matters of everlasting consequence. # 

This day of God's patience is the great opportu- 
nity of our salvation ; and if we let it slip, it is never 
te be recovered : if we misiifiprove this time of our 
life, we shall uot be permitted to live it over again 
to improve it better. Our state of trial ends with 
tiiis life ; after that God will prove us no more ; 
then we shall wish, '< O that I had known, in that 
tBj day, the tilings which belonged to my peace ! 
but now they are hid from mine eyes : therefore to- 
day, whilst tt is called to-day, harden not your hearts, 
mtike no tarrying to turn to the Lord, and put not 
off from day to day ; for suddenly shall the wrath 
<ot the Lord break forth, and in thy security thou 
shalt be destroyed. Exercise repentance in the 
time of health, and defer not till death to be justi- 
fied.'' 



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SERMON CLIL 

THE POWER OF GOD. 

God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this, tJuU 
power helongeth unto Gorf.— -Psalm Uu« !!• 

In treatiDg of the attributes of Go^» I have, con- 
bi^ered those which relate to the Divine understand- 
iqg, to which I referred his knowledge and wisdom; 
those also which relate to the Divine will ; viz. God's 
justice, truth, holiness, and goodness: I come now 
to consider his power of acting, which is his omni- 
potency ; this I shall speak to from these words. 

In the beginning of this Psalm, David, declares 
that God was the great object of his trust and con- 
fidenqe, apd that all his hopes and expectation of 
safety and deliverance were from him, (ver. 1, 2.) 
And this makes him challenge his enemies for all 
their mischievous qualities and devices against him, 
as vain attempts, (ver. 3, 4.) Hereupon he chargeth 
himself to continue his trust and confidence in God, 
from whom was all his expectation, and who was 
able to save and deliver him, (ver. 5—7.) And from 
his example and experience, he encourageth and ex- 
horts all others to trust in God, (ver. 8.) and that 
from two arguments. 

1. Because all other objects of our trust and con- 
fidence are vain and insufficient, and will fail those 
that rely upon them. If we will rely upon any thing 
in this world, it must either be persons or things ; but 
we cannot safely repose our trust in either of these. 
Not in persons: they may be reduced to one of 



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ISI 

tlieae two heads, either high or low : thode that are 
of a mean condition, it would be in vain to trust 
them ; they that cannot secure themselves from mean- 
ness, cannot secure others from mischief; ** Men of 
low degree are vanity :" but the great ones of the 
world, they seem to promise something of assistance 
and security to us ; but if we depend upon them, 
they will frustrate us ; *' Men of high degree are a 
lie." As for the things of the world, |hat which men 
usually place their confidence in, is riches ; these 
are either got by unlawful or lawful means ; if they 
be ill gotten, by oppression or robbery, they will 
be so far from securing us from evil, that they will 
bring it upon us ; if they be well gotten, they are of 
such an uncertain nature, that we have little reason to 
place our hopes in them ; *' if riches increase, set not 
your hearts upon them;'' that is^ your hope; for 
heart in Scripture signifies any of the affections. . 

2. Because God is the proper object of our trust 
and confidence. We may safely rely upon any one, 
in whom these two things concur--^a power to help 
us, and goodness to incline him so to do. Now 
David tells us, that both these are eminently in God, 
and do in a peculiar manner belong to him ; power, 
(ver. 11.) and goodness, (ver. 12.) 

I shall speak to that which David makes the first 
ground of our confidence, the power of God; "power 
belongs to God :" for which he brings the testimony 
of God himself; " once hath God spoken, yea, twice 
have I heard this.'' Some interpreters trouble them- 
selves about the meaning of this expression, as if it 
did refer to some particular revelation of God : and 
then again, they are troubled how to reconcile God s 
speaking this but once, with David's hearing it twice: 
but I do not love to spy mysteries in those expres- 



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sioni^ which are Capable of a plain s^t^e ; for I 
understatid no more by it but this, that God hath 
several times revealed this ; be frequently declared 
himself by this attribute, " once, yea twice ;" that is, 
he hath spoken it often, and David had heard it 
often. This is answerable to that phrase of the 
Latinsi Semd atque iterum; and it is usual in all 
writers, to use a certain number for an uncertain, and 
particularly among poets, Felices ter et amplius.—^ 
Horace. And so in the poetical writers of Scripture : 
(Job V. 19.) He hath ^^ delivered thee in six troubles, 
yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee f that is, 
in Several and various troubles. (Eccles. xi. 2.) 
*^ Give a portion to seven, and also to eight f that is, 
distribute thy charity to many : and, which is nearest 
to this, (Job xl. 5.) *' Once have I spoken, but I will 
not answer ; yea, twice, but I will proceed no fkr- 
ther ;" that is, I have had several discourses with 
my friends t and (xxxiii. 14.) "God speaketh once, 
yea, twice, in a dream, in a vision of the night;" that 
is, God reveals himself in several ways and manners 
to men : so here, " God hath spoken once, yea, twice f 
that is, God hath often declared this. And if I 
would be 80 curious to refer to a particular declara- 
tion of God, I should think that it related either to 
the preface to the law, " I am the I^ord thy God,** 
that is, the great and powerful God, " that brought 
thee out of the land of £fgypt ;" or rather to the de^ 
claration which God made of himself to Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob, by the name of the Almighty 
God, (Gen. xvii. 1.) Concerning which revelation 
of God, it is said expressly, (Exod. vi. 8.) "I ap"- 
peared unto Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, by 
the name of God Almighty; but by my name Je- 
hovah, was I not known to them." 



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But thal^ Wbicb I design to speak to is the pr6po» 
sitio'd itself, that power belongs to God; that is, that 
the excellency of power, power .in its highest degree 
and perfection, all power belongs, to God ; that is^ 
that omnipotence is a property or perfection of the 
Divine nature. 
In the handling of this I shall shew, 
First, What we are to understand by the omnipo* 
tenceofGod. 
Secondly, That this perfection belongs to God. 
First, What we are to understand by the omntpo^ 
t^ice of God. . And this I shall consider, 
I. As to the principle. And^ 
IL As to the exercise of it. 
I. As to the principle ; it is an ability to do all 
things, the doing of which speaks power and per*^ 
fection ; that is, whaterer is not repngoant either 
to the natnre of things, or of God ; whatever does 
not imply a contradiction in the thing, or an im- 
perfection in the doer ; an ability to do all things, 
which are consistent with itself, and with the Di-. 
Tine natare and perfection ; by which we must 
mean an executive power,- the effect whereof is 
without himself; for what he is said to do within 
himself, the acts of his understanding and will, as 
we conceive his will to be distinct from his power,, 
are not to be referred to his omnipotence. To have 
a right conception of omnipotence, we must ima- 
gine the most perfect active principle that we can, 
and it is still something more perfect than that, or . 
any thing we can imagine. To help our con- 
ception, 

1. Let us imagine a principle from whi<^h all 
other power is derived, and upon which it de-. 

VOL. TII. M 



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154 

pands, and to whidi it ia perfectly subject and sub- 
ordinate. 

S, A perfect active principle, which can do, not 
only what any finite being or creature can do, but 
what all beings joined together can do ; nay, more 
and greater things than they alt can do. 

3. A perfect active principle, to which nothing 
can make any considerable, much less effectual re^ 
sistance, which can check and countermand at 
pleasure, and carry down before it, and annihilate all 
other powers that we can imagine besides this ; be- 
cause we pannot iroajgine any other power, that is 
not derived from this, and does not depend upon it. 

4. A perfect active principle, which can do all 
things in a most perfect manner, and can do all 
things at once^ and in an instant, and that with 
ease. We can but do one thing at once ; and the 
greater and more considerable it is, the more time 
it will ask us to do it, and we find it the harder 
and more difficult to be done : but God, to whose 
knowledge, all things are present at once, and to«» 
gether, and the acts of whose will are a& quiqk and 
perfect aa of his understanding, hath a power aur 
swerable to the perfection of both ; and therefore- it 
is as easy to him to do all things, aa one thing ; ajt 
once, as successivelyy and in time. For this is the 
privilege of. an infinite Spirit, that it does not on^ly 
act without hands aad material engines or instru- 
ments, as every spirit doth, but without motion 
from one place to another; because he is every 
where, and fills all places; he acts per tM^dtan volun^ 
tatis, as if his actings were nothing else but a will* 
ing that such a thing be done; and, ipsofmct0^,6\^Ty 
thing is «o, as he willa it should be, and when, ho 
wills it should be; as iC things did start iip:uito 



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being, or ? anish out of being, as if they did lireak 
forth ititd being, and M^\k again into nfothibg, and 
undergo ench and sudi cbafiges, ad nutum tolun^ 
iatis, ** at Uie beck of his^ y^'xW."* And (his is the most 
perfect way of acting that can b^ imagined, which 
the Scripture seems to express to ds, when it re- 
presents God as making things by his word, up- 
holding all things by the word of his power ; as if 
he did but speak the word, and say, Let such a thing 
be, and it was so ; as if there were nothing more re- 
quired to the doing of any thing, but ati express act 
of the Diiine will, which tB nil we can understand 
by God '^8 speaking, by his ifrord, and voice, and 
saying. Let things be ; but the least that it daft sig- 
itify, is the ^uick and speedy manner of working, 
whereby God is able to do thingi^ in ari instant, as 
soon as a word can be spoken. . 

And as he can ^ all things at once, and in an 
instant, so with ease, without any pain or laborious^ 
endeavom* ; for what is it that can object any dif- 
ficulty to him? At the first crlBdtion of things, there 
was nothing to resisf 6im ^ and since the creation^, 
there is nothing but what was miade by him, and 
consequently all, whose power is derived from hiih, 
smd dependis npon him, dud is subject to him, aiid 
berng finite and limited, is infinitiely uniequail to the 
infinite power of God ; so that we may imaging the 
Divine power \^ould pass through alttfife resistance 
that all created po'^^r tdsa make, and all the di^ 
Acuities it can object to it, With more ^se than M 
bullet passeth through the thin aiT, or a timn wouM 
pass through a net of cobweb. 

5. The most perfect a6Sive priiiciple t*^ ittiif imaf- 
gine, the utmost bounds and limits ef'WhOs^ per- 
fection we cannot imagine, that i^, When we havd 

m2 



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ifnagined it to be as perfect, and to act in aa perfect 
a manner as we can imagine, yet we have not 
reached the perfection of it ; but after all this, that 
k can do many things more than we can imagine, 
and in a manner much more perfect than we can 
imagine. This is the omnipotence of God as to 
the principle, which hath no bounds and limits. 
And, 

IL As to the exercise of it, it is only limited by 
the Divine will and wisdom. The Divine will de* 
termines it to its exercise, the Divine wisdom di- 
rects and regulates the exercise of it ; that is, God 
exerciseth his power willingly, and not by neces- 
sity, and in such manner, for the producing such 
effects, and in order to such ends and purposes, a^ 
seem best to. his wisdom. Hence he is said to act 
all things according to his good pleasure, and ac«, 
cording to the counsel of his will; that is, freely and 
wisely. 

As to the extent of this power, I said it was ao- 
ability to do all things that are consistent with itr 
self, and with the nature and perfection of God. 

First, That are consistent with itself; that is, with 
a power tp do all things. It is a contradiction to 
imagine that omnipotence can do that, which, if it: 
could be done, would render all power insignificant. 
Upon this account, the Divine power is not said ta 
extend to the working of any thing which implies a. 
contradiction, and the terms whereof speak a re- 
pugnancy to one another, and mutually destroy one 
another, and the doing whereof is contrary to the 
nature of (he thing which is supposed to be done;* 
that is, is nonsense, and cannot be imagined to be. 
For example, that a thing should, be,, and not be, at 
the same time. For a power to make a thing to be. 



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157 

M as it should Dot be while it is, signifies nothing, 
because such a being as is not, is nothing ; and to 
make such a being, would be to do nothing, and 
consequently such a power would signify nothing. 
So likewise we cannot say, that the Divine power 
can cause that the same thingshould be made and 
not be made; that that which hath, been, should 
not have been ; for the power which makes a thing, 
so as that it was not made, and causeth a thing to 
have been, so as that it hath not been, does nothing; 
and consequently is no power. Nor can we say, 
that the Divine power can effect that any thing 
should be made by itself; that is, be the catise of 
its own being ; for that would be to cause that a 
thing should be before it is; that is, be when it is 
Bot, which signifies nothing. We cannot say, that 
the Divine power can effect, that twice two should 
not make four ; for that would be to cause that 
things should not be what they are, if they be at 
all ; which is to cause that things should be, and 
not be at aU, when they are, which amounts to no- 
thing. 

We cannot say, the Divine power can make .a 
sound to be seen, and colour to be heard ; for that 
would be to make colour and sound all one ; that 
is, things that differ, to be the same while they 
diff*er, which is to make colour and sound not to 
be colour and sound while they are so ; which is 
to do nothing, and consequently argues no power. 

We cannot say, that the Divine power can make 
. that which is intrinsically and essentially good to 
be evil ; and on the contrary : or that which is ne- 
cessarily true to be false; and on the contrary. For 
to make that which is intrinsically and essentially 
good to be evil, is to make that which is always 



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Ipood to be sotuetimes evil ; that is, to be evil whilst 
it is good ; that is, to make good and evil all one ; 
which is to bring two things together, which jso sooa 
as they dp exist, destroy one another, which is to 
no purpose, because it is to do just nothing ; and 
there is the saine reason of trne and false. . 

We cannot say, that the power of Qod can cause 
that the same thing should be hot apd cold, dead 
^nd alive,, at the same time, because these destroy 
one another ; and if they were both, neither of them 
would |i>e, ^ud. so the effect we attribute to this 
power would be nothing. 

We cannot say, that the Divine power can effect 
that the same impression should give a thing two 
contrary motions, upward and downward, at the 
same time; that the s^me body should be in two 
contrary postures, in motion and at rest, and in »€h 
veral places, which are the contradictions of traa-* 
substfintiation ; for the same body to be at the 
same time in two several places, is to be limited 
and circumscribed by ^cb of these ; that is, so to 
be in each of them, as not to be in the other, or in 
liny other; so th^t if it be in this place, it is not in 
that, nor ip any other besides this ; if it be in that 
place, it is not in this, nor any other besides that ; 
but if it hh in two, it is bptb in this and in that, and 
therefore in neither of them, nor any where else ; so 
that a power to make a body to be in two places at 
once, is a power to B>ake it to be ho where ; that is, 
pot to be at all, which is no power ; and there is the 
siame reason of the same bodies being in contrary^ 
motion, or in fpotion and at rest, or in two contrary 
postures at tb^ saooe time. 

$o that by all these instances, it appears, that a 
power to dp any thing which implies a contradic* 



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tioo, and is repognntittb tfaenatnre of tbidgs, sig^ 
tiifies nothing ; and tbe supposed effect of it is only 
to bring terms together, which, if they could b6 
brought together, so soon as they meet^ will mu^ 
tually take away and destroy one another^ which 
would be vain, Kod to no purpose. 

I have the more explicitly laid open these con* 
tradictions, with relation to the gross doctrine of 
transubdtantiation, in which all or most of the cdn* 
tradictions which I have mentioned, are itivolted. 
I know they stiffly deny that these contradiction^ 
follow from that doctride, and use pitifnl shifts td 
avoid them ; but being not able to satisfy them- 
selves that way, if the worst sholild come to the 
worst, they can grant these contradictions^ but then 
they fly to the power x>f God, which can do things 
which we call contradictions; or else they say, theW 
are as many contradictions in the doctrine of the 
trinity, which all Christians believe. And thud 
they reproach Christianity to defend popery ; and 
if they cannot persuade men to be papists, doii^bat 
they can to make them atheists, or at least to hin-* 
def them from being Christians ; but there is not so 
much malice in this objection, but th^6 is as little 
Strength. Is it any contradiction, thai the Mme 
thing should be three and one in several respects? 
which is all that the Scripture teacheth concerning 
tbe Trinity: but if men will undertake to explaiti 
this more particularly than God thought fit t6 idJa, 
and do it in such a manner, as that they cannot free 
themselves from contradiction, let tb6m look to it; 
the Christian religion is not at all concerned in this 
farther than to censure such men's boldness and 
curiosity. 

But against this exemption of things thilt imply a 



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contradiction from the compags and extent of the 
Divine power, there are two objections which are 
more considerable, and deserve to be taken no- 
tice of. 

I. We grant God's fore-knowledge of future events, 
which seem to us to be impossible to be foreknown. 
Now, why may we not as well grant that God can 
do things which seem to us impossible to be done 
by any other power, as foreknow things which it 
js impossible for any understanding to knoMr? For 
why should we pretend to know the utmost of what 
in&nite power can do, any more than the utmost of 
what infinite understanding can know ? 

Answer.~I know no reason but that the argument 
should be granted, if there were an equal necessity 
of granting the possibility of those things which 
seem to us impossible to be done, that there is of 
granting the possibility of foreknowing future con- 
tingencies, though they seem to us impossible to be 
known. We must grant the possibility of fore- 
Icnowing future contingencies, because the Scrip- 
ture, which we believe to be a Divine revelation, 
expressly tells us, that God doth foreknow them, 
and gives us instances of it in several prophecies 
and predictions. Now, if any man can shew me as 
express texts, which say, that God can make a 
^ody to be in two places at once, 1 would belifeve 
i^, though 1 do not see how it is possible ; because 
it is reasonable I should believe that infinite power 
can do many things, the possibility of which' my 
finite understanding cannot reach. Now, whereas 
the papists say, the Scripture hath said, that from 
^hich this necessarily follows, viz. " This is my 
body;'' this is not enough, unless they could either 
prove that it js n^cessarjr to understand all texts of 



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Scriptare io a^ rigorous and strict propriety of the. 
letter^ without admitting of any trope or figure in 
the words, which they do not pretend; or else 
shew a clear reason why this should be understood 
so, more than a thousand others ; which they have 
not done, and I think never can do. 

But if it be farther argued ; if we grant in one 
case, that those things which seem to be contradic- 
tions to us, may be possible, why not in all cases ; 
unless we had some certain way of distinguishing 
between seeming contradictions and real ones ? And 
if we grant all contradictions possible, then there is 
no reason to exempt these from the extent of the 
Divine power; but we may safely say, that the Di- 
vine power can make a thing to be, and not to be, 
at the same time. To this I answer, 

1. I do not grant that any thing which seems to 
me to be a contradiction, ought to be granted by 
me to be possible, unless I have higher assurance 
and greater reason to believe it to be possible, than 
I have to believe it to be a contradiction : for ex- 
ample, suppose it were clearly revealed in Scrip- 
ture, that two bodies may be in the same place, 
and at the same time (which is not, nor any thing 
like it) ; then, having a revelation for this, and no re- 
velation that it is not a contradiction, I have higher 
assurance, and greater reason to believe it possible, 
than that it is a contradiction ; and consequently, I 
have reason to believe it is no contradiction, and 
that from thence it would not follow, that the same^ 
thing may be, and not be, at the same time: but 
though in case of Divine revelation, I may. believe 
that to be no contradiction, which seems to me to 
be a contradiction ; yet I am not, without great ne- 
ip.essity aqd clear evidence, to offer violence to rea- 



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BOD^aod affront the faculty of understandiog which 
God hath endowed me withal, by entertaining any 
thing which seems to me to be a contradiction ; 
which the papists do in the business of transub* 
stantiation, without any evidence of revelation, and 
consequently without necessity. 

2. But if this were revealed in Scripture, that the 
same thing may be, and not be, at the same time, I 
could have no reason to believe that, because I 
could have no assurance, if that were true, Ihat the 
Scriptures were a Divine revelation, or that it werd 
to be believed if it were ; for if it were true, that th« 
aame thing may be and not be, then a Divine revela*^ 
tion may be no Divine revelation ; and when I atn 
bound to believe a thing, I may be bound at the 
same time not to believe it; and so all things would 
fall into uncertainty, and the foundation of all as- 
norance, and of all duty and obedience^ both of 
£Eiith and practice, would be taken away. 

The second objection is from the power of crea^ 
tion, which is generally acknowledged to be a niak'^ 
ing of something out of nothing. Now, say the 
objectors, this seems as palpable a contradiction M 
any thing else. 

Answer. — To us, indeed, who converse with ma- 
jterial things, and never saw any thing made but out 
of pre-existent matter, it is very hard to conceived 
bow any thing should be created, that is, produced 
iOut of nothing : but every thing that is straiige 19 
not a contradiction. It is strange to us, and hard 
to conceive, that there should be such a thing as a 
spirit, who never saw, nor can see any thing but 
matter; and yet we grant there are spirits. It is 
liard to us to conceive how any thing should be 
made but out of matter ; And y^t spirit, if it were 



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made of any thing; pre-existent, cannot be made of 
matter : but if we will attend to those common dic- 
tates of reason, which every man, whether be will 
or nOy must assent to, we may easily understand 
creation to be possible, and free from contradiction. 
For the clearing of this, I will proceed' by these 
steps : 

1. The true notion of creation is, the bringing of 
9omething into being, which before had no being at 
all ; for the phrase of making something out of no* 
thing, or out of no pre-existent matter, does mislead 
our understandings into odd conceits, as if nothing 
could be tlie material cause of something, or as if 
nothing could.be what is material. 

2. Every one must grant, that something is ; for 
we see that things are, however they came to be, 

3. Every one must grant, that something is of it* 
self, whether matter, or that being which we call God, 

4. Every one must grants that that which was of 
itself, was always; for nothing can begin of itself. 

6. It is much more easy to conceive how a thing, 
that once was not, might sometimes be brought into 
being by another, than how a thing should be always 
of itself; for that which once was not, is supposed 
to have something before it, by which it might bo 
made, though not out of which it was made ; but 
that which was always, neither had, nor could have 
any thing, by which or out of which it could be 
made. And why cannot a thing come into beings 
when there was nothing before it out of which it 
was made, as well as a thing be always, when there 
could not be any thing before it out of which it 
ahould be? 

Secondly, I exempt those things from the extent 
of omnipotence, which imply imperfection^ which 



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are contrary to the nature and perfection of God^ 
both natural and moral imperfections ; for these also 
destroy power, because they are not arguments of 
power,^ but of impotence. Natural imperfections ; 
as, to die, to be sick, to be in want, to eat, to sleep, 
to forget, &c. Moral imperfections, those which 
contradict the holiness of God, as sin and vice, or 
to compel any to sin ; which contradict his good- 
ness, as to be cruel ; which contradict his truth, as 
to lie, to deceive, to break his promise, to deny him- 
self. (Tit. i. 2; 2 Tim. ii. 13; Jam. i. 12.) He is 
9aid to be aVfipacrroc KOKwv^ contrary to the constancy 
and immutability of . his nature, as to change his 
decree, to repent; contrary to justice.and equity, as 
for ever to spare and to pardon obstinate sinners, 
eternally to punish innocent and good men; for 
these are moral imperfections, and contradict the 
holiness, and truth, and goodness, and justice, and 
immutability of the Divine nature ; and that dis- 
tinction between God's absolute and ordinate power, 
that is, that God hath an absolute power of doing 
some things, which yet, upon supposition of his de- 
cree, or promise, or goodness, or justice, he cannot 
do, is vain and frivolous, unless men mean by it only 
this, that some tilings which argue an imperfection, 
do not imply a contradiction, which is most true ; 
but both these are absolutely and equally impossi- 
ble to God. I proceed to the 

Second thing I proposed, that this perfection be-^ 
longs to God : and this I shall shew, 

I. From the dictates of natural light. 

II. From Scriptureor Divine revelation. 

I. From the dictates of natural light. This was 
one of the most usual titles which the heathens gave 
to their supreme Deity, Optimus Maximtis; next to 



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bis goodness tliejr placed bis greatness, which does 
chiefly appear in his power; and they did not only 
attribute a great power to him, but an omnipotence. 
Nihil est quod Deus efficere^ nonpotest^ (saith Tuily 
de Div.) Now their natural reason dfd convince 
them, that this perfection did belong to God by 
these three arguments : 

1. From .those two great instances and expres- 
sions of his'power, creation and providence; for the 
heathens did generally acknowledge the making of 
theworldi and the preservation and government of 
it, to be the effects of power, determined by good- 
ness^ and regulated by wisdom. Hence they gave 
those titled to God of Opifeas Rerum, and Rector 
Mufidi. I say generally ; I except Aristotle, who 
supposed the world not to have been made, but to 
have been from eternity; and Epicurus with his 
followers, who ascribed the regular and orderly 
frame of nature to a happy ca^alty and fortunate 
concourse of atoms t but, generally, the wiser did 
look upon the vast frame of nature, this stately fa- 
bric of the world, and the upholding and preserving 
of it, as an argument of a Divine and invisible power. 
And so the apostle tells us, (Rom. i. 20.) that by 
the light of nature ** the invisible things of God 
were clearly seen by the things that were made, 
even his eternal power and Godhead." 

2. Because all other perfections, without this, 
would be insignificant and ineffectual, or else could 
not be at all. Without this, goodness would be an 
empty piece of good meaning, and not able to 
give any demonstration of itself; knowledge would 
be an idle speculation; and wisdom to contrive 
things, without power to effect them, would be an- 
aaeless thing. There would be no such thing as 



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166 

juatfcd, if the Divine nature wet e witboctt a powei* 
to reward and punish ; no such thing as faithfulness^ 
if he had not a power to perform what he promises ; 
no providence, for it would be in vain for him that 
hath no povfer, to take upon him to govern and to 
intermeddle in the affairs of the world. 

3. Without this there could be no religion* Take 
away the power of God, and there can be no founda- 
tion of faith and trust, no reason for fear; ail ar* 
guments from hope and fear would be taken away ; 
we could not expect any good, nor fear any harm, 
from an impotent being that could do nothing. 
The sanction of God's laws would be taken away. 
To give authority to laws, thei^ roust not only be a. 
right to command, but power to back those com** 
mands; the grand security and last resort of all 
government and authority is power. (James iv. 12.) 
" There is one lawgiver, who is able to save, and to 
destroy.'* None^can be a lawgiver, but he that hath 
this power, to reward and punish, to make men 
happy or miserable, " to save, or to destroy.** Men 
would not pray to God, nor make any address to 
him, if they did not believe he was able to supply 
their wants, and relieve them in the^ straits ; Nee 
in huncfurorem omnes mortales eanaensisiseHt dlloquet^ 
di surdanwnina et inejfficaces deas. — Seneca. There 
would be no encouragement for men to serve God, 
if they did not believe that he was able to reward 
them, and bring them to happiness, and to defend 
them against all the enemies of their . welfare, so 
that it should not be in the power of the m€st m»« 
licious spirits to hinder them of their happiness. 

II. Ffons Scripture, or Divine revektiotw In 
producing texts to thb purpose, 1 will proceed by 
these steps : 



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16T 

. 1. Take notice of those Wkich in general astribe 
power, and might, and strength to God. (Psal. xxir. 
8,) "The Lord, strong and mighty.'* "So girt witli 
power; the mighty God ; thine is the greatness and 
the power; thine is the kingdom, and the power, and 
the glory." Of the same nature are those places 
which call upon all creatures to ascribe this to 
God ; " Give unto the Lord, ye mighty ; give unto 
the Lord glory and strength." 

2. Those which ascribe this to God in an emment 
d^ree. (Job ix. 4.) " He is mighty in strength; ex- 
cellent in power; who is like unto him? The Lord 
Jehovah is everlasting strength." 

3. Those texts which ascribe such a power asi 
transcends any human or created power. Such as 
those which express all the power which med have 
to be derived from God: (John xix. 11.) " Thou 
cooldest have no power at all, except it were given 
thee from above." And those which advance the 
power of God above the power of men : (Luke^xviiiv 
27.) " The things which are impossible with men, 
are possible with God : he is able to do exceeding, 
abundantly above all that we can ask or think." 
(Eph. iii. 20. 2 Chron. xx. 6. Job ix. 4.) " Accord- 
ing to his mighty power, whereby he is able to 
subdue all things to himself." (Phil. iii. 21. Daowiv. 
35.) Those which declare all things to be equally 
easy to bim^ and nothing difficult: " There iaoo^ 
thing too hard for thee." (Jer. xxxit. 17. 2 Chron* 
xiv. 11. 1 Sam. xiv. 6.) 

4. Those which ascribe all power to him, by 
the titles of " Almighty, All-sufficieht." (Gen. xyiL 
1> Rev. iy. 8. 11 ; xv. 3; xvi. 7 ; xix. \d^ Job xlii. 
2.) " Thou canst do all things^'* (Matt tix. 6. Mark 
X..27* Luke i. 37.) 



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168 

1 have dispatched what I proposed upon this M-' 
gument ; give me leave to apply all in the following 
particulars. 

Use. First, The consideration of God's oninipo- 
teniae may cause terror to wicked men. AH this 
power which I have described, or rather which is 
so great that I cannot describe it, is engaged against 
sinners ; ^' his power and his wrath is against all 
that forsake him;" (Ezra viii. 22.) And who knows 
what those* words signify, (Psal. xc. 11.) "Who 
knoweth the power of thine anger ? as is thy fear, 
so is thy wrath." There is no passion in the heart 
of man more infinite than our fear, it troubles us with 
jealousy and suspicion of the utmost that may hap- 
pen; but when we have extended our fears to the 
utmost, the power of God's wrath reacheth farther. 
Whenever we sin, we challenge the Almighty, and 
dare infinite power to do its worst to us. (Job xv. 
25.) Speaking of the wicked man, " He stretcheth 
out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself 
against the Almighty." Whom wilt thou fear, if 
not him who can make thee extremely happy or 
miserable for ever ? " Will ye provoke tl\e Lord to 
jealousy? are ye stronger than he?" Because he doth 
nothing against thee for the present, thinkest thou 
lie can do nothing ? (Nah. i. 3.) " He is slow to 
anger, and great in power, and will not acquit the 
wicked." There is a day coming, when " the Son 
of man shall come in the clouds of heaven, with 
power and great glory." 

Secondly, The consideration of God's omnipo- 
tence should check the pride and vain confidence 
of men. What have we to be proud of? " What 
have We that we have not received ? Where then is 
cause of boasting? Who may glory in his sight?'' 



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Those that haTe the greatest ponrer, should remem- 
ber whence it is derived, and render back the glory 
of it to the fountain of it. (PsaL xxix. 1.) '< Give 
unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord 
glory and strength.'' So likewise it should take 
men off from relying upon their own strength, which 
at the best is but ^* an arm of flesh," as the Scripture 
calls it, for the weakness of it. Do we not see, that 
many times ^*the battle is not to the strong?" that 
things are not done ** by might and by power, but by 
th^ Spirit of the Lord ?" When he appear^ against 
the most potent, *' their hearts melt within them, and 
there is no more spirit left in them,'' as it is said of 
the mighty inhabitants of Canaan, (Josh. v. 1.) 

Thirdly, We should make this omnipotence of 
God the object of our trust and confidence. This 
is (he most proper use we can make of this doctrine, 
as David does in this Psalm ; and this was used for 
a form of blessing the people in the name of God ; 
(Psal. cxxxiv. 3.) '^ The Lord that made heaven and 
earth, bless thee." And David, when he magnifies 
God's deliverance of his people from the multitude 
of, their enemies, resolves it iqto this, '' our help 
standeth in the name of the Lord, who made heaven 
and earth." Thus did the great pattern and ex- 
ample of faith encourage and support his confidence 
in God in a very difficult trial ; he staggered not at 
it, because ^' he believed God, who quickeneth the 
dead, and calleth those things that be not as though 
they were: therefore against hope he believed in 
hope," &c. (Rom. iv. 17, &c.) This gives life to all 
Qur devotion, to be persuaded that *' God is able to 
do for us exceedingly above what we can ask or 
think," and that ''his is the kingdom, the power, 
and the glory." 

VOL. VII. N 



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I shall only canticm two things, as to our reliance 
on the power of God. * 

\. Labour to be such persons, to whom God hath 
promised that he will engage and employ his oDtmi- 
potence for their good. If we hope for any good 
from the Almighty, we must walk before him, and 
be perfect, as he said to Abraham. Good men have a 
peculiar interest in God's power ; hence he is called 
♦♦ the Strength of Israel," and " the mighty One of 
Israel.'* If we do what God requires of us, we may 
expect that he will put forth bis power, and exert 
his arm for us ; but if we disobey, we must expect 
he will manifest his power against us, (£z. viii. 22.) 
When we do well, we may *' commit the keeping of 
our souls to him," (I Pet. iv. 19.) 

II. Our expectations from the omnipotence of 
God must be with submission to his pleasure, aud 
goodness, and wisdom ; we must not expect that 
God will manifest his power when we think there is 
occasion for it ; but when it seems best to him, he 
will so employ his omnipotence, as to manifest his 
goodness and wisdom. 

And with these two cautions, we may rely upon 
him in all our wants, both spiritual and tempo/al ; 
for bis Divine power can '* give us all things that 
pertain to life and goodness,** (2 Pet. i. 3.) We may 
trust him at all times, for the omnipotent God ^ nei- 
ther slumbereth nor sleepeth ; the Almighty fainteth 
not, neither is he weary. Trust yte in the Lord 
for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting^ 
strength." 



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SERMON CLIII, 

TH£ SPIRITUALITY OP THE DIVINE NATURJE* 

God is a spirity and they that worship hiniy mustw0r- 
. ship him in spirit and in truth. — John iv. 24. 

These are the words of our Saviour to the woman 
of Samaria, who was speaking to him of the diflfer* 
ence between the Samaritans and the Jews, concern-* 
ing religion ; (ver. 20.) " Our fathers worshipped 
in this mountain ; but ye say, that in Jerusalem is 
the place where men ought to worship.** Christ tell* 
her, " The time was coming, when the worshippers 
of God should neither be confined to that mountain, 
nor to Jerusalem; but men should worship the 
Father in spirit and in truth;'' when this carnal, 
and ceremonial, and typical worship of God, should 
be exalted into a more spiritual, a more real, and 
true, and substantial religion, which should not be 
confined to one temple, but should be universally 
diffused through the world. Now such a worship 
as this is most agreeable to the nature of God ; 
for he ^* is a spirit, and those who worship him, 
must worship him in spirit and in truth." In the 
words we have. 

First, A proposition laid down, **God is a 
spirit/* 

Secondly, A corollary, or inference, deduced from 
it ; " they that worship him, must worship hitn in 
spirit and in truth.** I shall speak of the propo- 
sition, as that which concerns my present design \ 

n2 



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173 

and afterwards speak soraetbing to the corollary, or 
inference, deduced from it, together with some other 
inferences drawn from this truth, by way of appli- 
cation. 

First, That " God is a spirit.** This expression is 
singular, and not to be paralleled again in the Scrip- 
ture ; indeed we have often mention madein the Scrip- 
ture of " the Spirit of God,'* and the " Spirit of the 
Lord,''which signifies a Divinepower and energy; and 
of the Holy Spirit, signifying the third person in the 
Trinity; God is called ''the God of the spirits of alt 
flesh," (Num. xvi. 22 ; xxvii. 16.) much in the same 
sense as he is called ** the Father of spirits ;" (Heb. 
xij. 9.) that is, the Creator of the souls of men ; but 
we nowhere meet with this expression, or any other 
equivalent to it, that '' God is a spirit,'* but only in 
this place ; nor had it been used here, but to prove, 
that the best worship of God, that which is most prot 
per tp him, is spiritual : so that the thing which our 
Saviour here intends, is not to prove the spiritual 
nature of God, but that his worship ought to be 
spiritual ; nor indeed is there any necessity that it 
should have been any where said in Scripture, that 
*' God is a spirit,*' it being the natural notion of a 
God ; no more than it is necessary that it should b^ 
told us, that God is good, or that he is infinite, and 
eternal, and the like ; or that the Scripture should 
prove to us the being of a God. All these are manir 
fest by the light of nature; and if the Scripture 
mentions them, it is ex abundanti, and it is usually 
in order to some farther purpose. 

For we are to know that the Scripture supppseth 
Iks to be men, and to partake of the common notions 
of human na^ure>. and therefore doth not teach u^ 
philosophy, nor solicitously instruct us in those 



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things which are borH with us ; but supposeth the 
knowledge of these, and makes use of these com-- 
moD principles and notions which are in us con- 
cerning God, and the immortalit j of our souls, and 
the life to come, to excite us to our duty, and 
quicken oui* endeavours after happiness. For I do 
not find that the doctrine of the immortality of the 
soul is any where expressly delivered in Scripture, 
but taken for granted ; in like manner, that the 
Scripture doth not solicitously instruct us in the na- 
tural notions which we have of God, but sapposeth 
them known to us ; and if it mention them, it is not 
so much in order to knowledge as to practice ; and 
thei^efore we need not wonder that this expression, 
which doth set forth to us the nature of God, is but 
once used in Scripture, and that brought in upon 
occasion, and for another purpose, because it is a 
thing naturally known. Plato says, that God is 
iffwfiaro^y*^ without body.** In like manner,Tully: Nee 
enim Deus ipse qui intelKgitur a nobis alio modo iit- 
telKgi potest f nisi mens qiuBdam soluta et libera; 
segregata ab omni concretione moriali; " We c^annot 
eonceive of God, but as of a pure mind, entirely 
free from all mortal composition or mixture." ' And 
Plutarch after him, vowc dv 6 Oii^, ^^wpwrov elSoc towbm 

TO ifuyi^ nJurrf^ vXi?c> /ticScw xaOtr^ (rvfiitiirXtyfiivoVj ^ God 

is a mind, an abstract being, pure from all matter, 
and disentangled from whatever is possible or capa- 
ble of suffering.'' 

So that natural light informing us that *^ God is a 
Bpirit,** tliere was no need why the Scripture should 
inculcate this : it is an excellent medium or argu- 
ment to prove that the worship of God should 
Qbiefly be spiritual ; and although it was not ne- 
cessary that it should have been mentioned for it- 



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174 

self; IhBiiSf to inform us of a thing which we couM 
not otherwise know; yet the wisdom of God, by the 
express ; mention of this, seems to have provided 
agftinst an error, which some weaker and grosser 
spirits, might be subject to. You know God is 
pleased, by way of condescension and accommoda- 
tion of himself to our capacity, to repi^sent himself 
to us in Scripture by human imperfections ; and 
gives such descriptions of himself, as if he had a 
body, and bodily members. Now, to prevent any 
error or mistake that might be occasioned hereby, 
it seems very becoming the wisdom of God, some 
where in Scripture expressly to declare the spiritual 
pature of God, that none through weakness or wil- 
fulness might entertain gross apprehensions of him, 
Iq speaking to this proposition, I shall, 

I^ Explain what is meant by *^ a spirit.'* 

]|. Endeavour to prove to you that '^ God is a 
spirit." 

III. Answer an objection or two. 
. IV. Draw some inferences or corollaries frpm the 
whole, 

I. For the explication ofthe notion of a spirit; I 
$hall not trouble you with the strict philosophical 
notion of it, as, that it is such a substance as is pene- 
trable; that is, may be ia the same place with a 
body, and neither keep out the body, nor be kept 
put by it ; and that the parts which we imagine in 
it cannot be divided ; that is, really separated and 
torn from one another, as the parts of a body ; but 
I will give you a n^^ative description of it. A spirit 
is not matter, it doth not fall under any of our 
senses, it is that which we cannot see nor touch ; it 
is not a body, not flesh, and blood, and bones ; for 
SO w? And spirit in Scripture opposed to flesh and 



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body ; (Isa. xxxi. 3.) *' Their horses are flesh, add 
Dot spirit" So Luke xxiv. when Christ appeared 
to hi3 disciples after his resurrection^ they were ter;« 
rified, and supposed it had been a spirit: (ver. 
39.) but he said, '' JBehold my hands and my feet, 
that it is I myself; handle me, and- see, for a spirit 
hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." The 
most usual description of a spirit is by these nega- 
tives ; it is not a body, hath not flesh and bones, 
doth not consist of matter, or of any thing that falls 
under our senses, that we can see. or touch. 

II. For the proof of this proposition, that '* God 
is a spirit." This is uot to be proved by way of de* 
monstration, for there is nothing before God, or 
which can be a cause of him ; but. by way of con- 
viction, by shewing the absurdity of the contrary. 
The first and most natural notion that we have of 
God, is, that he is a being every way perfect ; and 
from this notion we must argue cpncerning the pro- 
perties which are attributed to God, and govern all 
our reasonings concerning God by this ; so that 
when any thing is said of God, the best way to know 
whether it be to be attributed to him, is to inquire 
whether it be a perfection or not; if it be, it belongs 
to him ; if it be uot, it is to be removed from him ; 
and if any man ask, why I say God is so, or so, a 
spirit, or good, or just? the best reason that can be 
given, is, because these are perfections, and the con- 
trary to these are imperfections. So that if I shew, 
that it would be an imperfection for God io be ima- 
gined to be a body, or matter, I prove that he is a 
spirit, because it is an imperfection, that is, an ab- 
surdity, to imagine him any thing else : to imagine 
God to be a body, or matter, doth evidently contra^ 
diet four great perfections of God. 



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176 

1. His infinitenesfl/or the immensity of bis be- 
ing. Grant me but these two things, that there is 
something in the world besides God» some other 
matter, as the heavens, the air, the earth, and all 
those things which we see ; and grant me tliat two 
bodies cannot be in the same places at once ; and 
then it will evidently follow, that wherever these 
are, God is shutt)nt; and consequently God should 
not be infinite, nor in all places ; and so much as 
there is of another matter in the world besides God, 
so many breaches there would be in the pivine na- 
ture, so many hiatuses. 

2. The knowledge and wisdom of God. It can-* 
not be imagined how mere matter can understand, 
how it can distinctly comprehend such variety of 
objects, and at one view take in past, present, and 
to come. Tully, speaking of spirits, saith, Animo- 
rumnuttain terris origo inveniri potest; " Their origi- 
nal cannot be found upon earth ; for (saith he) there 
is no material or bodily thing," Quod vim memoriie^ 
mentis^ cogitationis habeat, quod et pneterita teneat, 
et^utura provideat, et complecli possit prasentia; . 
qtuB soladivinasuntf ^^ Which hath the power of me- 
mory, of understanding, of thought; which can retain 
things past, foresee things future, and comprehend 
thingspresent; all ^bjch powers are purely Divine.** 

3. rreedom and liberty^ For the laws of matter 
are necessai^, nor can we jinagine any avrkliavrnw, 
any arbitrary principle in ij;. This puzzled the 
Epicureans, as we see in Lucretius; ^'For if (says he) 
all things move by certain and necessary laws, and 
there be a connexion of the parts pf matter unto 
each other, S9 ^h^t if you move this, that must ne- 
cessarily be moved, whence (saith he) is liberty T 
Unde est hiec in^mfatis avulsa voluntas; ** Whence 



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177 

is Qm principle of will, whose motions are not un- 
der any law of necessity ?•• 

4. Goodness. This follows from the former; for 
he is not good who does not know what he does, 
nor does it freely ; so that take away understand- 
ing and liberty, and you take away goodness : now 
take away from God infiniteness, and knowledge, 
and liberty, and goodness, and you divest him of 
his glory ; you take away his most essential per- 
fections. So that these great absurdities following 
from the supposing of God to be mere matter or 
body, we are to conceive of him as another kind 
Ofsubstance; that is, a spirit. So that I wonder 
that the author of the Leviathan, who doth more 
than once expressly affirm, that there can be nothing 
in the world but what is material and corporeal, 
did not see that the necessary consequence of this 
position is to banish God out of the world. I 
would not be uncharitable, but I doubt he did see 
it, and was content with the consequence, and will- 
ing the world should. entertain it : for it is so evi* 
dent, that, by supposing the Divine essence to con- 
sist of matter, the immensity of the Divine nature 
is taken away ; and it is also so utterly unimagina* 
ble how mere matter should understand, and be en- 
dowed with liberty, and consequently with good- 
ness, that I cannot but vehemently suspect the man 
who denies God to be a spirit, either to have a gross 
and faulty understanding, or a very ill will against 
God, and an evil design to root out of the minds of 
men the belief of a God. I come in the 

III, Third place, to consider the objections. 

1st Obj. — ^Why then is God represented to us so 
often in Scripture by the parts and members of men's 
bodies ? Answ. I shall only say, at present, that 



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176 

all these descriptions and representations of God 
are plainly made to comply with our weakness, hj 
way of condescension and accommodation to our 
capacities. 

2d Obj. — How is it said^ that ** man was made 
after the image of God y'' if God be a spirit, of which 
there can be no likeness nor resemblance? Answ* 
Man is not said to be made after the image of God, 
in respect of the outward shape and features of his 
body, but in respect of the qualities of his mind, as 
holiness and righteousness ; or of his faculties, as un- 
derstanding and will; or, which the text seems most 
to favour, in respect of his dominion and sovereignty 
over the creatures ; for, in the two former respects^ 
the angels are made after the image of God. Now^ 
this seems to be spoken peculiarly of men, (G^.i. 
24.) '^ Let us make man in our own irnage, after 
our own likeness, and let them have dominion over 
the fish of the sea, and the fowls of the air," &c. 

IV. I come now to draw some inferences or co- 
rollaries from hence, and they shall be partly spe- 
culative, partly practical. 

First, Speculative inferences. 

1. That God is invisible. The proper object of 
sight is colour, and that ariseth from the various 
dispositions of the parts of matter which cause seve- 
ral reflections of light. Now, a spirit hath no parts 
nor matter, and therefore is invisible. (1 Tim. i. 17.) 
" Unto the eternal, immortal, invisible, the only 
wise God." (Heb. xi. 27.) ^* He endured, as see- 
ing him who is invisible ;" as seeing him by an ey^ 
of faith, who is invisible by an eye of sense. (I Tim. 
vi. 16.) ^^ Whom no man hath seen, nor can see/' 

When Moses, and the elders of Israel, are said to 
have seen God, aad Jacob to have seen him f;^e 



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179 

to face, (Exod. ii. 0. Gen. xxxii. 30.) it is meant of 
an angel covered with Divine glory and majesty ; 
as we shall see if we compare these with other texts. 
When Moses is said to have '' spoken to him face 
to facey** that is, familiarly ; and so Micaiah (1 Kings 
xxii. 19.) is said to have ^' seen God npon his 
throne, and all Israel scattered up and down ;" this 
was in a vision. And it is promised, that in heaven 
we shall see God; that is, have a more perfect 
knowledge of him, and full enjoyment ; as, to see 
good days, is to enjoy them. Those texts, where it is 
said, ^* Neman can see God and live/' (Exod.xxxiii. 
20. and John i. 18.) '' No man hath seen God at any 
time," do not intimate that God is visible, though 
we cannot see him ; but seeing is metaphorically 
used for knowings and the meaning is, that in this 
life we are not capable of a perfect knowledge of 
God. A clear discovery of God to our understand^ 
ing would let in joys into our souls, and create de- 
sires in us, too great for frail mortality to bean 

2. That he is the living God ; spirit and life are 
often put together in Scripture. 

3. That God is immortal. This the Scripture atr 
tributes to him, (1 Tim. i. 17.) '' To the King imnxor- 
tal, invisible.'' (1 Tim. vi. 16.) "Who only hath im- 
mortality." This also flows from God's spirituality ; 
a spiritual nature hath no principles of corruption 
in its nothing that is liable to perish, or decay, or 
die. Now this doth so eminently agree to Grod, 
either because he is purely spiritual and imma- 
terial, as possibly no creature is ; or else because 
he is not only immortal in his own nature, but is 
not liable to be reduced to nothing by any other, be- 
cause he hath an original and independent immor- 
tality ; and therefore the apostle doth attribute it to 



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180 

bim in 8Qch a singular and peculiar manner, *' who 
only bath immortality •'^ 

Secondly, Practical inferences. 

1. We are not to conceive of God as having a 
body, or any corporeal shape or members. This 
was the gross conceit of the Anthropomorphites of 
old, and of some Socinians of late, which they 
ground upon the gross and literal interpretation of 
many figurative speeches in Scripture concerning 
God, as where it speaks of his face, and hand, and 
arm, &c. But we are very unthankful to God, who 
condescends .to represent himself to us according to 
our capacities, if we abuse this condescension to the 
blemish and reproach of the Divine nature. If God 
be pleased to stoop to our weakness, we must not 
therefore level him to our infirmities. 

2. If God be a spirit, we are not to worship God 
by any image or sensible representation. Because 
God is a spirit, we are not to liken him to any thing 
that is corporeal ; we are not to represent him by 
^ the likeness of aay thing that is in heaven above,'* 
that is, of any birds ; " or in the earth beneath," that 
is, of any beast ; " or in the waters under the earth," 
that is, of any fish ; as it is in the second command- 
ment. For, as the prophet tells us, there is nothing 
that we can liken God to ; (Isa. xl. 18.) " To whom 
will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye com- 
pare to him ?" We debase his spiritual and incorrup- 
tible nature, when we compare him to corruptible 
creatures. (Rom. i. 22, 23.) Speaking of the heathen 
idolatry, " Who, professing themselves wise, became 
fools^ and changed the glory of the incorruptible 
God into an image made like to corruptible man, 
and to birds, and to four-footed beasts, and creep- 
ing things." They became fools j this is the folly of 



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181 

idobtry, to liken a spirit, which bath oo bodily 
shape, to things that are corporeal and corrupti- 
ble. So that, however some are pleased to mince 
the matter, I cannot see how the church of Rome, 
which worships God by or towards some image or 
sensible representation, can be excused from ido^ 
latry ; and the church of England doth not, without 
tery just cause, challenge the Romish church with 
it^ and make it a ground of separation from her. 

3* If God be a sqpirit, then we should ^^ worship 
him in spirit and in truth." This is the inference of 
the text ; and, therefore, I shall speak a little more 
largely of it ; only I must explain what is meant by 
worshipping ** in spirit and in truth,'' and shew yon 
the force of this consequence, how it follows, that 
because God is a spirit, therefore he must be wor« 
shipped ^* in spirit and in truth." 

1. For the explication of it. This word spirit is 
sometimes applied to the doctrine of the gospel, and 
so it is opposed to letter, by which name the doc* 
trine of Moses is called, (2 Cor. iii. 6.) '' Who hath 
made us able ministers of the new testament, not 
of the letter, but of the spirit f not of the law^ 
which was written in tables of stone, but which 
Christ by his Spirit writes in the hearts of believers. 
Sometimes to the worship of the gospel ; and so it 
is opposed to the flesh: (Gal. iii. 3.) '' Having begun 
in the spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh r^ 
that is, by the works of the ceremonial law, which 
is therefore called flesh, because the principal cere- 
mony of it, circumcision, was made in the flesh, and 
because their sacrifices, a chief part of their worship, 
were of the flesh of beasts ; and because the greatest 
part of their ordinances, as washing, and the like, 
related to the body. Hence it is the apostle calls 
the worship of the Jews, " the law of a carnal corn- 



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mtodment,'' (Heb. vii. 16. and Heb. ix 10.)Car^ 
Dal ordinances, speaking of the service of the law, 
*' which (saith he) stood in meats, and drinks, and 
divers washings, and carnal ordinances.*' Now, in 
opposition to this carnal and ceremonial worship, 
we are to worship God " in the spirit." The worship 
of the Jews was most a bodily service ; but we are 
to give God a reasonable service, to serve him with 
the spirit of onr minds, as the apostle speaks; in- 
stead of offering the flesh of bulls and goats, we are 
to consecrate ourselves to the service of God : ** this 
is a holy and acceptable sacrifice,'* or reasonable 
service. 

" And in truth." Either in opposition to the false 
worship of the Samaritans (as "in spirit" is opposed 
to the worship of the Jews), as our Saviour fells the 
woman, that " they worshipped they knew not what;** 
ort^hich I rather think) in opposition to the sha- 
dov^rs of the law ; and so it is opposed, (John i. 17.) 
** The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth 
came by Jesus Christ." 

Not that the external service of God is here ex- 
cluded, not that we are to shew no outward rever- 
ence to him; but that, as, under the law, the service 
X)f God was chiefly external and corporeal, so 
now it should chiefly be inward and spiritual ; th^ 
worship of God, under the gospel, should chiefly 
bespiritual and substantial, not a carnal, and bodily, 
and ceremonious devotion. 

2dly, For the f^rce of the consequence, it doth 
not lie in this, that just such as God is, such must 
onr worship of him be ; for this would exclude all 
bodily and outward worship; our worship of God 
must therefor^ be invisible, eternal, &c. for 150 is he; 
and' besides, the will of God seems rather to be the 
rule of his worship than his nature: but the force 



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183 

0f it 16 this ; God is of a spiritual natnra^ ami tilis - 
is to he supposed to he his. will, that our worship 
should be as agreeable to the object of it, as the 
nature of the creature, who is to give it, will bear. 
Now, saith Christ to the woman, the Jews and the 
Saiuaritans limit their worship to a certain places 
and it consists chiefly in certain carnal rite^ and 
ordinances; hut, saith he, though God have permitted 
this for a time, because of the carnality and hardi- 
ness of their hearts, yet the time is coming, when 
^ moee spiritual, and solid, and substantial worship 
of God is to be introduced, which will be free from 
all particular places and rites ; not tied to the tem- 
ple, or to suck external ceremonies, but consisting 
in the derotion of our spirits* even the inward frame 
and temper of our hearts; all outward circum* 
stances (excepting those of the two sacraments 
which are positive) b^ng left by the gospel to as 
great a liberty, as natural nefcessity and decency 
will permit. 

We must worship God, and therefore it is natu*- 
rally necessary that we should do it somewhere, in 
eome place ; now seeing soaoebody must determine 
this, it is most convenient that authority shoul4 
determine it according to the conveniency of coha- 
bitation. We must not be rude, nor do any thing 
that is naturally indecent in the worship of God : 
ibis authority should restrain ; but farther than this, 
i doubt not but the gospel hath left us free ; and to 
this end, Uutt the less we are tied to external observ- 
ances, the more intent we should be upon the spi- 
ritual and substantial parts of religion, the conform- 
ing of ourselves to the mind and will of God, en- 
deavouring to be like unto God, and to have our 
souls and spirits engaged in those duties v^e perform 
to him. So that our Saviour's argument is this; 



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1S4 

^* God is a spirit f timt is* the most excelletit nature 
and beings and therefore must be served vfitii the 
best We consist of body and sonl, it is true, and 
we must serve him with our whole man, but prin- 
cipally with our soulst which are the most excellent 
part of ourselves ; the service of our mind and spirit 
is the best we can perform, and therefore most agree- 
able to God, who is a spirit, and the best and most 
perfect being* 

So that the inference is this, that if God be a 
spirit, we must *^ worship him in spirit and in troth ;** 
our religion must be real, and inward, and sincere-, 
and substantial : we must not think to put off God 
with external observances, and with bodily rever- 
ence and attendance; this we must give him, but 
we must priucipally regard that our service of him 
be reasonable, that is, directed by our understand- 
ings, and accompanied with our affections. Our 
religion must consist principally in a sincere love 
and affection to God, which expresseth itself in a 
real conformity of our lives and actions to his will; 
and when we make our solemn approaches to him, 
in the duties of his worship and service, we must 
perform all acts of outward worship to God with 
a pure and sincere mind; whatever we do in the ser- 
vice of God, we must " doit heartily as to the Lord.'* 
God is a pure spirit, present to our spirits, intimate 
to our souls, and conscious to the most secret and 
retired motions of our hearts : now because we serve 
the Searcher of hearts, we must serve him with our 
hearts. 

Indeed, if we did worship God only to be seen of 
men, a pompous and external worship would be 
very suitable to such an end ; but religion is not in- 
tended to please men, but Grod ; and therefore it 
must be spiritual, and inward, and real. 



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18^ 

And whi^e^er the ext€raal part of teligfon is 
princrpally regarded, and iweh art mote careftil to 
ivor^hip God With ootward pomp atid cerettiony; 
than in *\ spirit and ita truth,'* refigioti de^eneratei^ 
into snperstitioA, and men erobfaee the shadow of 
religion, and 1^'^d the subWattee. And this th6 
chdtch of Rorte hath done almost to ihe ntterinin 
6f Christianity : she hath clogged reli^on and the 
worship of God With so many rites and ceremonies, 
tinder one pretente or other, that the yokfe t>i Christ 
18 tfecome heavier than thai of Moses \ and they 
hkire made the gospel a more carnal conim'iandmeni 
than the law ; and whatever Christians or thtnrChes 
are intent upon external tites aiid obsefvantres, to 
file neglect of the weightier pta^rts of rellgioti, regard- 
ing meats and drinks, &e. to the prejudice of righ;' 
teodsness and peace, wherein the kingdom of God 
consists, they advance a religion as contrary to the 
faature of God, and as nnsnitable tb the genitid and 
temper of the gospel, as can be imagined. 

It is an observation of Sir £dwin Sandi^, that, as 
children are pleased with toys, s^o (saith he,) it is a 
pitif^lkl and childish spirit that is predom|datit id the 
Contri^rers atid zealots of a ceremoriibus teltgton. 1 
deny not, bat that tery honest and devout men may 
be this way addicted ; but the wiser any man is, tl>6 
better he understands the nature of God and Of reli- 
gion, the farther he will l^e from thi$ tempef. 

A religion that Consist^ in external and tittle 
ibjngs, doth most easily gain upon and possess the 
Weakest minds ; and whoever entertain it, it will en- 
feeble their spirits, and unfit them for the more 
generous and excellent duties of Christianitj^. We 
have but a finite heat, and zeal, and activity.; and 
tr we let out much of it upon small things, tbMe will 

▼PL. vif. o 



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IB6 

be toolittk left for tkcM^ parts of religion which* are 
of greatest moment aAd <;oncernment ; if our hea^ 
evaporate in externals, the heart and vitals of re- 
ligion will insensibly cool and decline. 

How should we blush, who are Christians, that 
yfe, have not learned this easy truth from the gospel, 
which even the light of nature taught the heathen? 
C^ltui autem deorwm est optimusitemque sanclissimu^ 
atque castisj^muM^plenissimM^piepietatis^ ut eo$ smnper 
fwraint^ra et incormpti mente et voce veneremur. — 
Tully* ^^ The best, the surest, the most chaste, and 
most devout worship of the gods, is that which is 
paid them with a pure, sincere, and uncorrupt mind, 
find worda truly representing the thoughts of the 
heart/' Compontumju^fasque animiy &c. *' Serve 
God with a pure, honest, holy frame of spirit ; bring 
him a heart that is but generously honest, and he 
will accept of the plainest sacrifice/' 

And let me tell you, that the ceremonious worship 
of the Jews was never a thing in itself acceptable to 
God, of which he did delight in; and though God 
was pleased with their obedience to the ceremonial 
Jaw after it was commanded, yet antecedently he 
did not desire it ; but that which our Saviour saith 
concerning the law of divorce, is true likewise of the 
ceremonial, that it was permitted to the Jews '* for 
the hardness of their hearts,^ and for their prone- 
ness to idolatry. God did not command it so much 
by way of approbation, as by way of condescension 
to their weakness ; it was because of '* the hardness 
of their carnal hearts,'' that God brought them under 
*'the law of a carnal commandment," as the apostle 
calls it. (See PsaL li. 16, 17. Jer. vii. 21.) 

The reason why I have insisted so long upon this, 
is, to let you understand what is the true nature of 



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187 

Chrisfs religion, and to abate tbe intemperate heat 
and zeal which men are apt ta have for external and 
indifferent things in religion. Tb6" sacrifices and 
rites of the Jews, were -very disagreeable and unsuit^ 
able to t^e nature of God. (Fsal. 1. 13.) '"^Will I 
eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats ?" 
Spirits neither eat nor drink ; it was a irery 4ingoii- 
able way of service to kill oxen and sheep for Qod ; 
and there is tbe same reasoi; of all other rites, which 
either natural necessity or decency doth not requiVe. 
Cai|i any man in earnest think that God, who is a 
fikpirit) is pleased with the pompons bravery "and 
pageantry which affects our senses? So little doth 
God value indifferent rites, that even tbe necessary 
external service of "Gdd, and oulB^ard reverence/ 
where thjsy are separated from spirit and tnitb, firond 
real holiness ^nd obedience to the indispensable laws* 
of Christ, are so far from being acceptable to Gdd,^ 
that they are abominable ; nay, if they be used for 
a cloak' of sin, or in Opposition to real religion, apdi 
with a design to undermine it, God accounts such: 
service in the number of tbe most heinous sins. 

You, who $!pend tlbe strength and vigour of yoiit> 
spirits about external things, whose aseal. for 6r> 
against ceremonies is ready to eat you up ; yoti, wHo 
hate and persecute one another because of th^ei 
things, and break tbe neoessary and indispensable^ 
coDomands of love, as an indifferent and unnecessary I 
ceremony, *^Go and learn what that means, I wili 
hav^ mercy, and not sacrificev"' which our Saviour' 
doth so often iticulcate, and that (Rom. xiv. \7.) 
*\The kingdom of God is not meat aird drink," &c.i 
And study the meaning of this, ** God is a spirit, and. 
tliiey that worship him, must worship htm in spirit: 
and in truth." ' ' '*^ . ' T/ 

o2 



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SERMON CLIV. 

TBB iMBtBKSkTY OF ^fiB l^tVtVte NATtTRlK. 

Whither shall I g^ from thy Spirit f or whither ^ha« 
I Jlee Jrom thy presence? If 1 ascend tep into 
heane^r thou art there { if I make my bed in helh 
hehoU, thou art there. If I take the roings of the 
mormng^ and dwdl in the outermost parts of the 
em; ei)em there shpUthjf hand lead me, and thy right 
htmd shaU hold me.-^PsALM cxxatix. 7 — 16. 

That attribute of God which I lust discoursed of 
i« moat absolute, aucj declares his e^^ence most tm-' 
lii0(j[|ately~^the spirituality of thr Divine nature. 
I shalU in the uext place, speak of those which re^ 
late to the olanner of Ms bein^, immensity and eter«- 
ifity ; that is^ the inflnitePcct of his essence, both hi 
respect of space aod dr.ration ; that the Divine na- 
ture hs^h no limits of its bein^, nor bounds of its 
doraJtion. I shall at the present speajc to the first 
qI these, hik immensity, and that from these words 
which I here read to you, «* Whkber shall I go from 
thy Sphrit," &c. The meaning of which ii this, that 
Ood is a spirit infinitely diffusing himseff, present 
in all pi&oeBf ao that wherever I go, Ood is there ; 
ite cannot flee from his presence. ^* If I teceiid into 
beavieB, he i» there ; If I go down into the grave,** 
th^ place ofi silence and obscurity, '^ He is there ; (for 
that IS thei meaning of the expression, ' if I make 
liiytbed in hell ;*) if I take the wings of the raornifng; 
Slid dwell ift theutteralost pavte of these*; etets 
there shall thy hand lead, me, and thy right liaild^ 



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•tislf hold tte f thftt h^. if my ttotion should hi as 
swift as that of the light, which, when the sun risetlr^ 
darts itself in an instant from out part of \hk world 
to another, mrerthe earth and the sea, the remotest 
partd of the world which are unknown to us, yet 
would Gdd be ]»re$eoC to me in the motion, and all 
along as 1 ^ must I be led tod upholden by him ; 
ao tbaf all these expressions do but signify to ui 
tbe tmmeuaity of God's essence^ that his beiag is in- 
finitely diffused and preMnt lA all places« 

In faking to this attribute of Qod*9 imiMusltyi 
1 shalU fiiraf» explain it to you a little. 

Secondly^ Prove that it doth belong to him. 

Thirdly, Answer an objection or two that mAy 
be made agaibst iU 
. Fourthly, Dtaw some ddttf inal iufermces ttam it. 

Fifthly, Makesom^ use and improvement ofit ' 

FirM, For the explication of it By the im- 
tti0R8ity of God^ I me^n, that his being bath no 
boands or limits, but doth every way spread and 
difiViae itself beyond what we ean imagine ; so that 
you banndt define the pn^sence of God by any c€l^ 
tmin place, ao as to say, Here he is, but not there; 
nor by any limits, so as to say« Thus far his being 
teacbeth, and no farther; but he is every wbere 
pre8a:it, after a' ateist iikffinite manner, in the darkest 
Qoriem and nioet private r^cestfes ; the most secret 
closet that is in the whole world, the hea#t of man, 
darkness and privacy eaabot keep him out; the 
presenoe <^ another being, even of a body, which h 
tiae grossest sabetance^ doth not eJtclude him ; the 
wbote wortd doth not confine bim ; bat he fills aH 
tba spaoa wbiob we ciui imagine beyond this visibl* 
.aiorld, aild infinitely moi^ tfaap w^ can imagine. 
, Seotadly, For the proof of it^ I shaH attempt H, 



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L From th^ datural nbtioos and dictates^ of ow 
liiods.. ' . . . ' » .1 

. : IL From Scripture and Divine p^velation. -> 

' III. From the inconveoience of the coatrary^ 
"^ I., From the nataral notions and dictates of oor 
toiads. We find that the heathen, by the light of 
mtttre* did attribute this parfection to God. TMj 
tails 116, De Nat Deor. that Pythagoras thought; 
J^eum ^$$e animam per naturam rtnaii omnem intet^ 
turn et comeantem ; " That God is, as it were, a soul 
pa$sijQg through and inspiring all nature." And in 
L 2. de Leg. that thki was Thales's opinion which 
he co.mm^iends. Homines existimare oportere deos am- 
nia cernfife, dearum omma esse plena; "That men 
ought to believe, that the gods see all things, that 
all tWngs are full of them.'' So Sen. Epist 85^ 
Ubique; et cmfdbus prasto est; " He is every where 
present a^d at hand :" and, de fienef. 1. 4. Quocun- 
qnefejiexeris ibi ilium videbis occurrentemtibi, nihil 
nb ilh vaoat; opus snum ipse implet; 'f Which way 
soever thoil turnest thyself, thou shalt ind him 
ipeeting thee ; nothing is withont him, he fills his 
own work." Not^ much differing^fi-om the expres* 
sion of the tPsalmist here. 

II, From Scripture and Divine revelation. I 
sMl instance in some remarkable places : (1 Kings 
viii. 27.) " Behold, the heaven, and heaven of hca* 
yens, cannot contain thee." (Job xi. 7— ».) " Canst 
tbott by searching find out God ? Canst thou find 
out the Almighty unto perfection?' (Isa. Ixvi. 1.) 
" Thus saith the Lord, Behold, heaven is my tbnme, 
and ^he earth is my footstool : where is the house 
that je build unto me P and whereis the place of my 
rest?" (Jer. xxiii. 23, 24.) " Am I a God at hand; 
with the Icprd, and not a God afa? off? Can any 



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^ 191 

liide himself ia secret places that t i^ball^tiot see him, 
SBith the Lord ? Do not I fill heavea and earihv 
saith the Lord?** (Amos it. 2, 3.) "Though they 
dig into hell» thence shall mine hand take them ; 
Chough they climb up to heaven, thence ^ill I bring 
ttiein down : and though they hide themselves in 
the top of Carmel, f will search and take them out 
(hence; and though they be hid from my sight m' 
the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the 
serpent and he shall bite them.'* (Acts xvii.27,48j" 
•* Though he be not far-from every one of us : for 
in him we live, and move, and have our being; as 
certain also of your own poets have said, For we' 
are also his offspring.'* 

III. From the inconveniences of the contrary. 
And this is the most proper way of proving any of 
God's perfections; for, as I have told you formerly, 
there being nothing before* God, nor any cause of 
his being, his perfections cannot be proved by way 
of demonstration, but of conviction, by shewing the 
absurdity of the contrary. The first and most easy' 
notion that we have of God is, that he is a being' 
which hafth all perfection, and is free from all iroper*^ 
fections. Now if I prove that the immenisity of 
God's essence is a perfection, or, which is the saiAe, 
that the contrary is an imperfection, 1 do sufficiently' 
prove the thing intended. 

Now to suppose the Divine essence tO foe limited: 
or confined, and his presence to be any where ex- 
dlcrded, doth contradict both this necessary peifeb- 
tion of God, his universal providence; and thd ne^ 
cessary duty of creatures, to wcfrship and trust in' 
him ; and the voluntary manifestation and appear*' 
jince of God in the incarnation of Jesus Christ - ' 

1. It cpntradictsthe universal providence of God.- 



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Xbe univeraa^ provideDce of Gq4 supppselh «iao j 
Perfections; \\z^ infinite knowledge and infinite 
l^vrer, bia ocnniseieQce and ooinipotence, neither 
of wbici) cm be iaiag;ined wijtbout omnipresencew 
We Qnd tbat all finite beings have a finite know- 
ledge tnd a finite power ; and it cannot be con- 
oeived bow infinite understanding and power can 
be founded any wbere else than in an infinite ea- 
sc^ce« To have an infinite knowledge of all tbingsi, 
erven those things which are most secret and hidden, 
to be.^ble to do all things, to steer and govern the 
lotions of all creatures,, and to have a perfect care 
of them, aeems^ to all thi^ reason of mankind, to re- 
quire immediate presence. 

^. It x^pnl^adicts the necessary diity of the crea- 
ti^re, which is to worship God, to depend upon him 
for every thing, and in ^ery thing to acknowledge 
bicn^ Now all worship^ Qf God is rendered vaip, or 
at least uncertain, if God be not present to us to 
beiM* jQur prayers, to take notice of our wants, and 
recei^vfi our acknowledgments : it wil} much abate 
our confidence in God, and our fear tp ofiend him, 
if we be uncertain wbelber he be present to iis or 
iiot, whether |ie a^e* our a<;tjon9 or not. 

3, It contradicts a voluntary manifestation and 
appearance qf God in the incarnatioo of Christ. 
He that supposeth God not to be every where pre- 
s|^ntl>y hjs essence, must, in all reasou, confine bis 
presence to heaven, and suppose, him to he prqsient 
ei|^^ber^:Qnly by bisvirtpe and power: but if this 
were 9Q» bow could the Divinity be essentially 
qf)i^d to the human qature of Christ which was 
h^r^ liipon earth ? how '' is God with us ?"" How does 
** be pitch his tabernacle amongst men," if his essen- 
tial presaiM^^ be confned to heaven ? 



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Tbir41y> I conxe to aliswer objections i^iDst tbia 
4octrioe. 

Tbere are two objections against this : 

1. From re^^n. 
. 2* From Scripture, 

l^t Obj,— Reason will he ready to suggest, tbat 
thi? is ^ dispara^ment to the Divine nature^ to' 
tie bis presence to this vile dunghill of the earth, 
and sordid sink of bell. This is a gross apprehen- 
sion, of Godj and a measuring of him by ourselves^ 
Indeed if we look upon God as capable of injury, 
amd suffering, and offence, from the contagion of 
any t^og here below, as we are, then, indeed^ there 
livere some strength in this objection: but he is ^ 
hle$^d and pure Being : Metis segregata ab omm 
qawretiome wn-tali ; ** A mind free from all mortal 
composition or mixture." — Tully. MiySsvi nadnr^ <nffi' 
wtirXiyfiivovf '^ Disentangled from every thing pass- 
^le,"' as Plntarclu Those things that are nauseous 
tQ our ^epaes do not affect him. Darkness is uncom- 
^rtable to us; but '' the darkness and the light are 
^U Q|ie to him." Wickedness may '' hurt a n)aii,or 
the son of man ;" but '' if we multiply our transgrea^ 
siops, we do nothing to God," as Elihu speaks^ 
(jQt>:icxs;v. 0.) Nothing can disquiet or discom- 
pose bis happy and blessed naturcj^ but he con- 
yersetb here in this dark and troubled world with 
les? danger or disturbance, or any impure contagioiw 
tbiMi the aun-b^ams. 

: 2d'Obj. — Do^ not the Scripture tell us, tha^ 
** God sits in the heavens," s^nd '' dwells on high ;'' 
that ''heaven is his throne," and tbat ** it is the city 
of the great God ?" Doth not the Lord s Prayer 
teach us to say, ''Our Father, which ^rtin heaven?** 
Is be not said to " look dowa from heaven,'' a«d 



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^194 

to ^* heat in heaven^ his dwelling-place?" Is it not 
said, that '* he doth not dwell in temples made with 
hands?" And does not Solomon, (I Kings viii. 27.) 
put it as a strange question, ** Will God indeed 
dwell on the earth?" Is he not said to come 
down and "draw near to Us,** and to be " afar off 
from us?" Now how does this agree with bis im- 
mensity and omnipresence? 

For answer to this, I must distinguish the pre- 
sence of God, There is, first, his glorious pre- 
sence ; that is, such a presence of God as is accom-* 
panied with an extraordinary manifestation of his 
glory, and that is especially and chiefly confined to 
heaven, in respect of which it is called his seat, and 
throne, and ** the habitation of his glory/' Some 
degree of this was in the temple, which is the reason 
of Solomon's admiration, " Will God indeed dwell 
on earth ?** 

^ Secondly, There is his gracious presence, which' 
discovers itself by miraculous effects of his favour, 
and goodness, and assistance, and thereby he is said 
to '' dwell in the hearts of good men, and with them 
that are of a humble and contrite spirit ;'' (Isa. Ivii. 
15.) and, in respect of this, he is said to " draw 
rtear to us," to " look down upon us;" and, irf re- 
spect of the absence of this, to be •* far from us." 

• Thirdly, There is his essentiat*f>resence, which is 
equally and alike in all places ; and this is not ex- 
cluded by those former expressions, which the 
(Scripture usfeth to denote to us the glorious and 
gracious presence of God. 

Fourthly, To make some inferences. I will men- 
tion only such as the Scripture here takes notice of, 
speaking of God's immensity. 

* I. Inf.— That God is a spirit. This necessarily 



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idv0 ttotn^ his immeDsity ; for (f the essence of Go(f 
be ev^ry where diffused, the BWine aature must be 
spiritual, otherwise it could not be in the ^fttne 
place where body and matter is, but must be shut 
out of the world. But this I spoke more largely ia 
in my discourse of God's being a spirit. This the 
Psalmist observes iiere, f^ Where shall I go from 
thy Spirit?" If he were not a spirit, we might go 
from him, and hide ourselves from his presence. 
* 11. Inf. — ^That God is incomprehensible. That 
which is infinite cannot be measured and compre- 
hended by that which is finite; and this, also, the 
Psalmist takes notice of, in the ver^e before my 
text, ** Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; 
it is high, t cannot attain to it." 

III. Inf.— *That God is omniscient; If God be 
every where, then he knows all things ; yea; even 
the hidden things of darkness, the secrets of our 
bearts ; nothing can be hidden from an infinite eye ; 
be is present to our thoughts, intimate to our hearts 
and reins : this the Psalmist takes notice of, 1 — '1^ 
and 12th verses. ^ 

IV. Inf. — That God is omnipotent. He can do 
all things. Distance limits the power of creatures, 
and makes their hands short; but God is every 
where, nothing is out of his reach; and this, also, 
rtife Psalmist intimates in the text, (ven 10.) " Even 
there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand* 
bold me." 

Fifthly, The use and improvement I shall make 
of this, shall be, 

I. To awaken our fear of him. 
^ 2. To encourage our faith and confidence in him, 

1. To awaken our fear of him. The considera- 
tion of God's presence sihould awaken in us a fear 



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196 

^f reverence. The presence of w eartfalj vmJwCy 
viU awe our spirits, and cocopoae ua to fev^r^Qcet 
yea» the preseace of a wise aod good mao; t)Ow 
much more should the presence of the greats wa4 
glorious, the wise, and the holy, and the just Qod^ 
strike awe upon our spirits? Wherever we ara^ 
God 19 with us ; we always converse with hitHj and 
live cootinually in his presence. Now a heatheo 
could say. Cum d^is wrecmude agm4um% ^* Wi» 
moet behave ourselves modefitly, bec^Qse wq am in 
the presence of God,** 

And it should awaken in ns a fear to offend G^» 
and a fear of the Divine displeasure lor iMVitff 
offended him. Fear ia the most wakeful passioii 10 
the soul of man, and is the first principle tilal la 
wrought upon in us from the apptehensiona of a 
X>eity; it flows immediately from the priociple of 
self preservation which G^qd hatH platrted in €iver|ji 
man's nature; we have a natural dread and berr#t 
ibr every thing that can hurt oe^ and cuidAnger o«f 
hjping or happiness. Now the greatest dwiger ia 
^ora the greatest power, for where we ar^ ckeftrljr 
over-mfitched, we cannot boyie to meJte opposHlon 
nor resistance with security aj^d sucoess, to feb^ 
with safety : now he that apprehends God to h% 
near bim, and preaent to him, believeaBUcha Being 
to stand by bim as is possessed of an infinjtQ and 
irreKistible power, and will vindicate all contempt Of 
the Divine Majesty, and violation of his laws^ If 
we believe God ta be always present with n$», *^ fsar 
will continually take hold of ns," and we shall say 
of every place, as JacoiU did of Bethel, '^ Surely 
Godiain this plaqe,, how dreadful-is this place T 
When we have at any time provoked God, if we be- 
lieve the jvmi God is at baod to revengi bioMelf, and 



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19t 

tf Wtf beHeve the •pow^r of hiH atiger, we shall 
«ay with David, (Pdal. IXxVi. 7,) « Thou, even thou, 
lurt to be feared, and who may stand before thee 
when thou art angry?' (PsbI. cx\x. 120-) " My 
flesh trembleth because of thee, atid I am afraid o^ 
thy judgments."* 

Sinners, consider this, '* it is a fearful thing to fall 
into the bands of the tiving God ;"* and every time 
ydu sin, you are within his reach. Let, then, the 
consideration of God*s presence deter us from sin, 
^nd quicken us to our duty. The eye and presence 
of a superior will lay a great restraint upon men ; 
the eye of our prince, our master, or our father, will 
mabe us afVaid or ashamed to do any thing that is 
foolish or unseemly : and will we do that under the 
eye of <jtod, ivhich we should blush to do before a 
grave or wise person, yea, before a child or a fool ? 
£Nd but men live under this apprehension, that God 
is present to them, that a holy and all-seeing eye 
beholds them, they would be afraid to do any thing 
that is vile and wicked, to profane and pollute God's 
glorious n^me, by a trifling use of it in customary 
gwearmg and cursing. Whenever you sin, you affront 
God to hid face, and provoke omnipotent justice,, 
which is at the door, and ready to break in upon you. 

And the consideration of this should especially, 
deter us froiA secret sins, l^bis is the use the 
Psalmist here makes of it. If we believe that God 
searcheth os and knows us; that he knows our 
down-sitting and onr up-rising, and understands 
otrr thoughts afer off; that he compasseth our path, 
atid our lying down, and is acquainted with all our 
ways; that there is not a word in our tongue but 
he knows it altogether ; that he hath beset us be- 
hind and before ; that the darkness hideth not from 



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198 

lum, but the Digbt sbineth as the ^y, and the da;rk^ 
ness and light are both alike: 1 8ay» if we be*, 
tieve this, bow should we live in an awful sense of 
the Majesty which is always above us, and before 
usy and about us/ and within us, and is as insepara* 
ble from us, as we are from ourselves, whose eye is 
upon us from the beginning of our lives to the end 
pf our days! Did men believe that God is alway^r 
with them, that his eye pierceth the darkness, and 
sees through all those clouds with v^^hich they hide 
And muffle themselves, and pries into the most se-. 
cret recesses of their hearts : how would this check 
and restrain them from '' devising mischief in their 
hearts, or in their bed-chamber!" The hply pre- 
sence, and the pure eye of God, would be to us a 
thousand times more than to have our father, or. 
our master, or our prince, or him whom we most 
revere, to stand by us. Did but men reprcesentare 
$ibi Deum^ ^* make God present to them,'* by living 
under a continual sense of his presence, they would^t 
as the expression of the wise man is, '' be in the 
fear of the Lord all day.^' Magna spes peccatorwn 
toUiluVy si peccaturis testis adsistat: aliquem habeat 
animus quern vereaiur^ cujus auctoritate etiam secre^ 
turn sunm sanctius facit ; '' The main hope of sin*, 
ners is to remain undiscovered ; let but somebody 
be privy to their designs, and they are utterly 
disappointed : it is fit for the mind of a man to hav^ 
an awe of some being,, whose authority may render, 
even its privacy more solemn." This is the character, 
of wicked men; (Psal. Ixxxvi. 14.) ** That they, 
have not God before their eyes.** One great cause, 
of all the wickedness, and violence, and looseness^i 
that is upon the earth, is, they do not believe that; 
God is near them and stands by them. ' ' 



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And a$ tbe jCOMideration of Qcd*9 preseocje 
should deter, us from sin, so it should quicken an^ 
animate us to our duty. It is ordinarily a great 
encouragement to men to acquit themselves haod« 
som^ly, to have the eyes of men upon them^ espe*} 
cially of those whose applause and approbation they, 
value. God. alone is amplum tkeatrum^ he is'^a^ 
greater theatre"' than the world ; and it should be 
more to us that he stands^by us, than if the eyes o^ 
all the. world were fixed upon us. Seneca adviseth 
it, as an excellent means to promote virtue, to pro-^ 
pound to ourselves, and set before our eyes, some^ 
eminently virtuous person, as Cato or Leelius, Ut 
sic tanquam ilia spectante vivamtis^ et omnia tanquam 
illo videntefaciamus : " That we may live just as if he 
were looking ^ipon us, and do all things just as if 
he beheld us."* How much greater incitement will 
it be to us, to think that God looks upon us, and 
sees us, and really stands by us, than faintly to. 
imagine the presence of Laeliut^ or Cato ? 

This should have an infiuence upon all the duties. 
we perform, and the manner of performing them, 
that we do it to him who stands by us, and is fami- 
liarly acquainted with us, and is more intimate to us^ 
. than we are to ourselves. This Cicero, in 1. 2. de J^g. 
looks upon as a great principle of religion: Sit igitur, 
hocpersuasum civihus^ et qualis qvisque sit^ quidagat^ 
quid in se admittat, qua mente, qua pielale religions 
eolatf deos inlueri^ et piorum impiorumque ralionem 
habere : *' Let men be thoroughly persuaded of this» 
that the gods observe both the disposition and the 
actions of every particular man, what he consents to,^ 
what he allows himself in, particularly with what 
meaning, with what degree of inward devotion, he 



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too 

performi his religioni^ worship ; and that they di^ 
tiDguish between the pious and the impious.'* 

2. To encourage our faith and confidence in him. 
When we are in straits, and difficulties, and dangers, 
God is with us; when trouble is near td us, God 
is not far from us ; wherever we are, how remote 
soever from friends and companions, we cannot be 
banished from Goci^ presence; if we dwell ** beyond 
die utmost parts of the sea, there^his hand leads us, 
^nd his right hand holds us." (P&al. i^vi. 8.) *'l haVe 
set the Lord always before me; because he is at my 
right hand, 1 shall not be moved.'* The consider- 
ation of God's presence is the great stay and sup- 
port of our faith. (Psal. xlvi. J, 2.) " God is oUr 
refuge and strength, a very present help iu trouble | 
therefore will not we fear though the earth be r6-, 
moved, and though the mountains be carried ibto 
the midst of the sea." In the greatest commotiotas, 
and the most imminent and threatening dangers^ 
this should charm and allay our fears, th^t God td 
a present help. 

This was the support of Moses's faith in hi$ 
sufferings, as the apostle tells us, (Heb. xi. ^7.) 
^ He endured, as seeing him who h invisible.*' 

To conclude all: whenever we are under any, 
pressure or trouble, we should rebuke our own fears, 
and challenge our anxious thoughts with David, 
(Psal. xlii. 11.) " Why art thou cast down, O my 
sOul? and why art thou so disquieted within me? 
trust still in God ;''. believe that God is with the6, 
and that omnipotent goodness stands by thee, vyho 
can and will support thee, and relieve thee, and de- 
liver thee, when it seems best to his wisdotn. 



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SERMON CLV., 

THB KTERNITY OF OOD. 

JBefore the mountains were brmightforth^ or ever thou 
hadst formed the earth and the worlds even from 
everlasting to everlastings thou art God* — ^Psai*m 
xc, 2- 

The immensity and eternity of God, are those at- 
tribatei which relate to his nature, or manner of 
being. Haring spoken of the former, I proceed to 
consider the latter, from these words. 

The title of this Psalm is, ** the prayer of Moses, 
the man of God." He begins his prayer with the 
acknowledgment of God^s providence to his people 
from the beginning of the world ; *^ Lord, thou hast 
been our dwelling-place from all generations :'* "in 
generation and generation ;** so the Hebrew. He 
was well acquainted with the history of the world, 
and the providence of God from the beginning of it; 
and, as if he had spoken too little of God, in saying, 
that his providence had been exercised in all the 
ages of the world, he tells us here in the text, that 
he was before the world, and he made it ; he was 
from all eternity, and should continue to all eternity 
the same. ** Before the mountains were brought 
forth,*' the most firm and durable parts of the world, 
the most eminent and conspicuous ; '* or ever tbou^ 
hadst formed the earth and the world,** • biefbre any 
thing was created ; ** from everlasting to everlastings 
thon art God." In speaking of this attribute, I shall, 

First, Give you the explication of it. 

VOL. VII. p 



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202 

Secondly, Endeavour to prove that it doth be^ 
long to God, and ought to be attributed to the 
JDivine nature. 

Thirdly, Draw some corollaries from the v^hole^ 

JFirst, For the explication of it. Eternity is a 
duration without bounds or limits : now there are 
two limits of duration, beginning and ending; that 
which hath always been, is without beginning ; that 
which always shall be, is without ending. Now 
we may conceive of a thing always to have been, 
and the continuance of its being now ta cease^ 
though there be no such thing in the world : and 
there are some things whiph have had a beginning 
of their being, but shall have no end, shall always 
continue,, as the angels and spirits of men. The first 
of these the schoolmen call eternity a /Mir/ea»t^; that 
is, ^'duration without beginning;" the latter,, eter- 
nity a parte post ^ "a duration without ending." But 
eternity, absolutely taken, comprehends both these, 
and signifies an infinite duration, whiqh had no 
begibning, nor shall have any end : so that when 
vre say God is eternal, we mean that he always was, 
and shall be for ever ; that he had no beginning of 
life, nor shall have any end of days; but that he is^ 
^* from everlasting to everlasting," as it is here in the 
text. 

It is true, indeed, that as to God's eternity a par^e 
oMt^, as to his having always been, the Scripture 
doth not give us any solicitous account of it ; it only 
tells us, in general, that God was before the world 
was, -and that he created it : it doth not descend to 
gratify our curiosity, in giving us any account of 
what God did before he made the world, or bow he 
entertained himself from all eternHy : it doth not 
give us any distinct account of his infinite duration ; 



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203 

for that had. been impossible for our finite under* 
standings to comprehend; if we should have as- 
cended upward millions of ages, yet we should 
never have ascended to the top, never have arrived 
ai; the beginning of infinity ; therefore the Scripture^ 
which was. wrote to instruct us in what was neces- 
sary, and not to satisfy our curiosity, tells us this, 
that God was from everlasting, before the world 
was made, and that he laid the foundations of it 

So that, by the eternity of God, you are to under- 
stand the perpetual continuance of his being, with- 
out beginning or ending. 

I shall not trouble you with the inconsistent and 
unintelligible notions of the schoolmen; that it is 
duratio tola simul^ in which we are not to conceive 
any succession, but to imagine it an instant. We 
may as well conceive the immensity of God to be a 
point, as his eternity to be an instant: and as, ac- 
cording to our manner of conceiving, we must ne- 
cessarily suppose the immensity of God to be an in- 
finite expansion of his essence, a presence of it to all 
places, and imaginable space ; so must we suppose 
the eternity of God to be a perpetual continuance, 
co-existent to all imaginable succession of ages. 
Now, how that can be together, which must neces- 
sarily be imagined to be co-existent to successions — 
let them that can, conceive. 

Secondly, For the proof of this, I shall attempt 
it two ways. 

I. From the dictates of natural light and reason. 

II. From Scripture and Divine revelation. 

I. From the dictates of natural reason. This at* 
tribute of God is of all others least disputed among 
the philosophers : indeed, all agree that God is a 
perfect and happy being ; but wherein that happi- 

p2 



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nes8 and perfection consiiBts, they differ exceed* 
ingly ; but all agree, that God is eternal, and are 
agreed what eternity is ; viz. a boundless duration r 
and however they did attribute a beginning to their 
heroes and demons, whence come the genealogies 
of their gods, yet the Supreme God they looked 
upon as without beginning : and it is a good evi- 
dence, that this perfection doth clearly belong to 
God, that Epicurus, who had the lowest and mean- 
est conceptions of God, and robbed him of as many 
perfections as his imperfect reason would let him» 
yet is forced to attribute this to him : Tully (de Nat. 
Deor. lib. 1.) saith to t^e Epicureans^ Ubi igitur 
vestrum beatum et atemum quihus duobua verbis sig^ 
nificatis Deum ? " Where then is your happy and 
eternal being, by which two epithets you express 
Godr And Lucretius, whahath undertaken to re* 
present to the world the doctrine of Epicurus, gives 
this account of the Divine nature : 

Omnii arimper m divum natura neeesH ai 
Immartali avo $umma cum pacefruatur: 

'^ It is absolutely necessary to the nature of the 
godis, to pass an eternity in profound peace and 
quiet." 

The poets, who had the wildest. notions of God, 
yet they constantly give them the title of oBavaroi; 
the heathen never mention the name of God, with- 
out this attribute ; Dii immortdles ! '^ Immortal gods !*^ 
was their ordinary exclamation ; and they swear 
constantly by this attribute, Deos tester immortales; 
Ind to mention no more, Tully saith expressly, Nos 
Deum nisi sempitemum intelligere qui possumus f 
'' How can we conceive of God, but as an eternal 
Being.'' 



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Noif, the reMon of thiB is evidenti because it 
would be the greatest imperfection we could attri«> 
bi)te \o his being; and the more perfect his being 
wqr^ otherwise) the greater imperfection would it 
be for such a being to die ; so excellent a nature to 
<eease to be»; it would be an infinite abasement to ali 
fais other perfections, his power, and wisdom, and 
goodness, that these should all be perishing; nay, 
it would hinder several of his perfections, and con-' 
tradict their very being: his self-existence ; had he 
not alv^ys fo^en« he bad not been of himself: his 
necessary existence ; for that is not necessarily^ 
which may at any time not be, or cease to be wha^ 
it is: and it w;ould much abate the ^qty of th^ 
creature ; we could not have that assurance of his 
promise, ap^i that security of the reeompence of tha 
next life, if the continuance of his being, who should 
be the dispenser of them, were uncertain* 

Now, these absurdities and inconveniences fot-^ 
lowing from the depial of this perfection to Ck)d, uf 
sufficient evidence that it belongs to him ; for I told 
you the perfections of God cannot be proved by 
way of demonstration^ but only by way of convie^ 
tion^i by shewing the absurdity of the contrary* 

II. From Scripture and Divine revelation. There 
are innumerable places to this purpose^ which 
speak of the eternity of G^ directlyi and by con- 
sequence: by consequence those words, {2 Pet. iii« 
SU) '^ One day with the Lord is as a thousand years^ 
and a tbottsaqd years as one day f which words^ 
bo w<ev6r interpreters have troubled themselves about 
them, beit^ afraid of a contradiction in them, yet 
the plain meaning of them is this — that such is the 
infinite duration of God, that all measures of time 
bear jm proportion 4o it; for that this is tberj^in 



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i06 

iDeaning appears by Psal. xc. out of which they 
are cited ; " For a thousand years in thy sight are 
but as yesterday, when it is past, and as a wiatch 
in the night;" that is, as the time past, as a few 
hours slept away, for that is the meaning of *^ a waitch 
in the night," that is as nothing. Now, "St. Peter's 
conversion of the words, " One day is as a thou- 
sand years, and a thousand years as one day,** only 
signifies this, that the longest duration of tim^ is so 
inconsiderable to God, that it is as the shortest; 
that is, bears no proportion to the eternity of God. 

But directly, the Scripture frequently mentions 
this attribute : he is dallec^ the ^^ everlasting God," 
(Gen. xxi.33.) " The eternal God," (Deut. xxxiii. 
27.) and, which is to the same purpose,*" he that in- 
habiteth eternity," (Isa. Ivii. 15.) And this, as it is 
attributed to him in respect of his being, so in re- 
spect of all his other perfections, (Psal. ciii. 17.) 
" The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to ever- 
lasting." (Rom.i. 20.) " His eternal power." (1 Tim. 
i. 17.) " The King eternal." Those doxologies which 
the Scripture useth, are but acknowledgments of 
this attribute : " Blessed be the Lord for ever and 
ever," (Neh. ix. 5.) '^ To whom be glory, and ho- 
nour, and dominion for ever and ever," (Gal. i. 5.) 
and in many other places. 

Hither we may refer all those places which speak 
of him as without beginning; (Psal. xciii. 2.) " Thou 
art from everlasting.^' (Mciah v. 2.) ^' Whose go- 
ings forth have been from everlasting." (Hab. i. 12.) 
^'Art not thou from everlasting, O Lord?" And 
those which speak of the perpetual continuance of 
his duration, (Psal. cii. 24— 27.) ** Thy years are 
throughout all generations; of old thou hast laid 
the fpundations of the earth, and the heavens are 



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the irork of tby bands : they shall perish, but ibo« 
ehalt endure ; yea, all of them shall wax old like a 
garment, and as a vesture shalt thou change them, 
and they shall be changed ; but thou art the same^ . 
and thy years shall have no end.'' 

And those which speak of him ^ as the first and 
the last." (Isa. xliii. 10.) '' Before me there was no 
God forined^ neither shall there be any after me. I 
am the first, and i am the last, and besides me there « 
is no God." And to mention no more, those whidi 
speak ^ his being, as co-existent to all difference of 
time, past, present, and to come: (Rev. i. 8.) '' I am 
Alpha, and Om^;a^ the bepnning, and the ending, 
saith the Lord, which is, and which was, apd whidi^ 
IS to come.** ^ 

Thirdly, I shall from hence draWr 

I. Some doctrinal corollaries. 

II. Some practical inferen^es^ 

I. Doctrinal corollaries, that you may see how 
the perfections of Ood depend one upon another, 
and may be deduced one from another. 

IsjtCoiCol* — From the eternity of God, we may in- 
fer, that he is of himself. That which always is^ 
can have nothing before it to be a causae of its being. 

2d CoroK — ^We may hence infer the necessity of 
his being. It is necessary every thing should be, 
when it is ; now that which is always is absolutely 
necessary, because always so. 

adCorol.— The immutability of theDivine nature; 
for being always, he is necessarily ; and being ner 
eessarily, he cannot but be. what he is; a change of 
his being, is as impossible as a cessation. Tbere-^ 
fore the Psalmii^t puts his immutability and feternity 
together : (Psal. cii. 27.) '' But thou art the samat 
;ijcid thy years shallhave i)o f^nde" 



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II. By way of practical iefetence or appijcmtioi]. 

1, Tbe consideration of God's eternity may serve 
for tbe support of our &\t\u This Moses bere usetb 
as a ground of his faith ; '* Lord, thou bast beea our 
dwelling-place in all generations ; before the nloati*^ 
tains were brought forth/' Sec. (PsaL Ixii. 8.) '' Trust 
in him at all times, ye people." His immensity ii 
an mrgament why all should trust in him, he is a 
present help to all ; and why they should trust in 
him at aH times, his eternity is an argument, (Dent; 
XKxiii. 27.) " The eternal God is thy refuge, and 
underneath are the ererlasting arms." There are 
two attributes which are tbe proper objects of our 
-fiaith and confidence— -God's goodness, and his 
power ; both these are eternal : '' The goodness of 
the Lord endureth for ever," as it is frequently in 
the Psalms. And hk power is eternal : the apostle 
speaks of his eternal power, as well as Godhead, 
(Rom. i. 20. Isa. xxvi. 4.) " Trust ye in the Lord 
for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting 
strength." (Isa. xh 28.) '' The everlasting God, the 
Lord, the Creator of the enda of the earth, fainteth 
not, neither is weary.** 

We cannot trust in mm, because th^re is no^ 
thing in man to be a foundation of our confidence ; 
bis good- will towards us may changd, hiis power 
may faint, and he may grow weary ; or if these con« 
tinue, yet they that have a mind and a power to 
help us, themselves may fail : therefore the Psalnrist 
useth this Consideration of men's mortality, to take 
as off from confidence in man, (Psal. cxlvi..3, 4.) 
^^ Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of 
man, in* whom there is no help ; his breath goeth 
forth, he returneth to his earth, in that very day his' 
thoughts perish." (Isa. ii. 92.) '' Cease ye from man. 



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so® 

irboM bfMlb is in hit noBtrHs ; for wberein is lie to 
be aecouoted of?" The greatest of tiie sons of m^i 
are bat lyiag refuges to the everlasting God ; they 
are but broken reeds to the rock of ages. 

And this may support our faith, not c>nly in refer- 
ence to oar own condition for the fatnre, but in re- 
ference to our posterity, and the condition of Crod's 
church to the eod of the world. When we die, we 
mvf leave ours and the church in his hands, who 
lives for ever, and reigns for even Tbe enemies of 
God*s church, and those who have the moet mall- 
cioos designs against it, whatever share they may 
faftve in the affairs of the world, they can but domt* 
seer lor a while, they must die, and *^ that very day 
their thoughts perish :" ^' Bat thy throne, O God, is 
for ever and ever.*' 

2« For tbe encouragement of our obedience. We 
serve the God who can give us an everlasting re* 
ward. The reward of the next life is called ** eternal 
life, an eternal weight of glory," (2 Cor. iv« 17.) 
^ Eternal salvation," (Heb. v. D.) ** An eternal iiii- 
heritance," (Heb. ix. 15.) That place where good 
men shall be rewarded, is called '* eveiiastiog habi^ 
tations,"' (Luke xvi. 0.) ^^ A house eternal in the 
heavens,'' (2 Cor. v. 1.) As the promise of our futufe 
tewai'd is founded in tbe gbodaess of God, and the 
greatness of it iti bis power, so the duration of it id 
his eternity. Now what an encouragement is this to 
US, that we serve him, and suffer for him, who livev. 
for ever, and will make as happy for ever P Wbea 
we serve the great men of this world, though we be 
secure of their affection, yet we are uncertain ol 
their Uves ; and this discoorageth wany, and makes 
men worship the rising sun ; and many times takes 
off men's eyes from the king, to his successor; bat 



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210 

be that sertes God, serres " the King everlasting,** 
as the apostle calls him, who will live to dispense 
rewards to all those who are faithful to him. 

3. For the terror of wicked men. The sentence 
which shall be passed upon men at the day of judg- 
ment, its called " eternal judgment," (Heb. Ti. 2.) be- 
cause it decides men's eternal state ; the punish- 
ment that shall follow this sentence, which shall 
pass upon the wicked, is called ** everlasting pa* 
nishment," (Matt. xxv. 46.) " Everlasting fire,* 
(Matt. xxv. 41 .) " Everlasting destruction," (2 Thess. 
i. 9.) " The vengeance of eternal fire," (Jude 7.) 
^ The smoke of the bottomless pit,*" is said '' to as- 
cend for ever and ever,** (Rev. xiv. 11.) and the 
wicked '* to be tormented day and night, for ever 
and ever," (Rev. xx. 10.) Now as the punishment 
of wicked men is founded in the justice of God, and 
the greatness of it in his power, so the perpetuity 
and continuance^ of it in his eternity. The apostle 
saith, (Heb. x. 31.) ^^ It is a fearful thing to fall into 
the hands of the living God f because he that lives 
for ever, can punish for ever ; as the eternal demerit 
of sin feeds, and animates, and keeps alive, the never* 
dying worm, so the wrath of the eternal God blows 
up the eternal flame. 

How should this awaken in ns a fear of the eternal 
God ! Sinners, what a folly is it, for the pleasures 
of sin^ which are but for a season, to incense that 
justice which will punish and torment you for ever! 
As good men shall have the everlasting God for their 
reward, and their happiness, so wicked men shall 
have him for their judge and avenger! 

We fear the wrath of men, whose power is short, 
and whose breath is in their nostrils, who can afflict 
but a little, and for a little while. Dost thou fear 



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'' man that shall die, and the fion of man that shall be 
made as grass ?" And is not the wrath of the eternal 
God much more terrible ? (Luke xii. 4, 5.) *^ And I 
say unto you, my friends, be not afraid of them that 
kill the body, and after that have no more that they 
can do : but I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear; 
fear him, who, after he hath killed, hath power to 
cast into hell ; yea, I say unto you, fear him." The 
wrath of man is despicable, because it hath bounds 
and limits ; the fury of man can but reach to the 
body, it can go no farther ; it expires with this life, 
it cannot follow us beyond the grave: but the wrath 
of the eternal God doth not only reach the body, 
but the soul ; it is not confined to this life, but pur- 
sues us to the other world, and extends itself to all 
eternity. 

^^ Fear him, who, after he hath killed, hath. power 
to cast into hell;"* that is, to inflict eternal torments; 
^* yea, I say unto you, fear him.** 



'^M. 



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SERMON CLVI; 

THE INCOMPR^HENSIBI^ENESS OP GOD. 

Ck^t thou by searching find out God? Canst tho^ 
find out the Almighty unto perfection J-^Oh 
xi.7* 

\» treating of the properties avid perfeciiofis ^God, 
I shall at present consider that which results from 
(he iiffinite eiccelleDcy of his nature And perfection, 
<tompared with the imperfection of our understand*^ 
ings, which is commonly called the incoropriBbeh-' 
flibleness of <3od« This you have expressed here in 
the.wordisof Zopfaar» ** C^stdiou by searching An4 
out God?" &c. 

There is no great difficulty in the words; " Canst 
thou by searching find out God T Potesne pervesti- 
gore intima Dei^ so Castalio translates it. Dost 
thou know God intimately and thoroughly, within 
and without? Canst thou pierce into the centre of 
fais perfections, and dive into the bottom of them ? 
and ** Canst thou find out the Almighty to perfec- 
tion r Canst thou find out the Almighty, usque ad 
ultima, to the rery last and utmost of him ? so as 
thou canst say, after a thorough search and inquiry, 
** There is no perfection in God beyond this ; there 
is nothing of him now that remains to be known ; 
this he is, and no other ; that he is, and no other- 
wise ; this he can do, and no more ; hither doth his 
knowledge, and power, and wisdom reach, and no 
farther.** 



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313 

Canst than do this? TheM ioter r oga i ijung kate d^ 
force of a vehemeqt negatioD; as if he bad said, N6 
tboa canst not; God is unsearchable, be is tfiooH^- 
prebensible. 

The two questions in the text seem to be only 
two several expressions of the same thing. Tfa^ 
first question is undoubtedly general, conoemlDgtbe 
nature and perfections of God in general^ *^ Canst 
thou by searching find out God?'' Cajtst thou fay 
the most diligent seareb and inquiry come to a peiv 
feet knowledge and understanding of bim ? 

The second question may seem to be a particular 
instance to the general truth implied in the first 
question ; he seems to instance in his power/ as if 
he had said, God is unsearehable, and then bad in- 
stanced in a ps^rticolar perfection, the power of God; 
^' Canst thou by srarching find out GodT Thou 
canst not comprehend the Divine nature and per^ 
fections in general ; ^* Canst thou find out the Al-i 
mighty unto perfection 2" Consider particularly his 
power, aqd see if thou canst know the utmost of 
that. But I rather think thatxthe latter question is 
altogether the same in sense widi the former ; and 
that the attribute of Almighty, which is here given 
to God, is used by way of description, and not in- 
traded by way of instance. ^^ Canst thou find Out 
the Almighty," thpat is, God^ '' unto perfection ?''i 
Which way soever we take the words, it is not 
much material, we may ground this observation upon 
them: 

That God is incomprehensible. 

This term or attribvte is a relative term, and 
s|>eaks a relation between an object and a faculty^ 
between God and a crekted understanding; so that* 
the meaning of it is plainly this, that no created un-' 



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214 

derstamliog cao comprehend Qod ; that is, haVe a peN 
feet and exact knowledge of him, such a knowledge 
as is adequate to the perfection of the object. Or 
thus, the nature and perfections of God are above 
the understanding of any of his creatures ; it is only 
his own infinite understanding that can frame a per* 
feet idea of his own perfection. God. knows him* 
self, his own understanding comprehends his own 
perfections. But he is incomprehensible to his 
creatures. 

Indeed, there is nothing more obvious than God ; 
for ** he is not far from every one of us ; in him we 
live, and move, and. have our being;*' there needs 
no great search to find out that there is a-Grod: 
-" An eternal power and Deity are clearly seen in 
the things which are made," as the apostle tells us ; 
but the manner of the being, and properties, and 
perfections of this God, these cannot be compre* 
bended by a finite understanding. I shall prove 
the doctrine, and then apply it. 

First, For the proof of it : I will attempt it these 
three ways : 

L By way of instance, or induction of particulars. 

II. By way of conviction. 

III. By giving the clear reason of it. 

I. By way of instance. And I sliall give you iu^ 
stances both on the part of the object, and of the 
subject, or the persons who are capable of know- 
ing God in any degree. 

1. On the part of the object. The nature of 
God, the excellency and jx^rfection of God, the 
works and ways of God, are above our thoughts 
and apprehensions. The nature of God, it is vast 
and infinite: (Job xxxvi. 26.) *^God is great, and 
we know him not.'* (Job xxxvii. 23.) " Touching 



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215 

the Almighty we cannot find him ont/' (PsaK cx\t, 
3.) ** His greatness is unsearchable." 

The excellencies and perfections of God ; his 
immensity, (2 Chron. ii. 0.) ** The heaven of hea- . 
vens cannot contain him :" the eternity of his dura- 
tion, ** from everlasting to everlasting he is God :'' 
we cannot imagine any limits of his presence, xkot 
bounds of his duration. The infiniteness of his 
knowledge : (Psal. cxlvii. 5.) ** His understanding 
is infinite.** When we think of the wisdom and 
knowledge of God, oar best way is to falj into ad- 
miration :(Rom. xi. 3d.) *^ O the depth of the riches 
both of the wisdom and knowledge of God T 

Where the Scripture speaks of those perfec- 
tions of God, which the creatures do in some mea- 
sure and degree partake of, as his goodness, and 
power, and wisdom, and holiness, and immortality, 
it attributes them in such a peculiar and Divine 
manner to God, as doth exclude and shut out the 
creature from any claim, or share, or title to them : 
(Matt. xix. 16, 17.) "Why callest thou me good? 
there is none good but t)ne, that is God.^ (1 Tiro, 
vi. 16, 16.) "Who is the blessed and only Poten- 
tfite, who only hath immortality." (t Tim. i. 17.) 
" The only wise God." (Rev. xv. 4.) ^* For thou 
only art holy." In so inconceivable a manner doth 
God possess these perfections which he communis 
cates, and we can only understand them as he com- 
municates them, and not as he possesses them ; so 
that when we consider any of these Divine perfec- 
tions, we must not frame notions of them contrary 
to what they are in the creature, nor must we limit 
them by what they are in the creature, but say, the 
goodness and the wisdom of God are all this which 
is in the creature, and much more, which I am not 



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abk to comprebend ; this iSranscendent degree/ and 
the singularity of tboie Divine |»erfectioB9» which 
are coifainaDicable/ is beyond what we avc able to 
conceive. 

The worlds of €rod ; they are likewise unseardi- 
^ble ; the works of creation and of redemptioo^. 
(Job y. 9.) ^^ Which doeth great things, and qd- 
searcbable; marvellous things, past finding oot."^ 
And then he instanceth in. die works of'God^ (Job 
xxvi. 14.) *'Lo, these are part erf his ways: but 
how little a portion is heard of him! and the thoB-> 
der of his voice, who can understand P" So that ke^ 
tells us expressly, we cannot find out the works ot 
God ; we do but know part of them. The question 
which he puts, (Job xxxvii. 16.) ^^ Dost thou know 
the wondrous works of him that is perfect in know- 
Ijedge?" can only be answered by the words of the 
Psieilmist::. (Psal. civ. 24.) ** O Lord, how wonderful 
are thy works ! in wisdom hast thou made them all.'* 
The K^ork of redemption: in this there shines forth 
s.uch wisdom, mercy, and love, as our understand- 
ipgd cannot. reach.: This work is called 'Ube wis* 
dom of God in a mystery ; hidden wisdom,** ao^ 
owoKeKpvfiiAtvti, (1 Cor. ii. 7.) The mercy, and grace, 
and love of it is called, " the riches of God's mercy, 
the exceeding riches of his grace," (Eph. ii. 4. 7.) 
]>(ow riches is/ when you cannot tell the utmost of 
them^ pcMperes est numerare. (£ph. iii. 18, Id.) 
•^ That ye may be able to comprehend with all saints 
what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and 
height, and to know the love of Christ, which pass- 
eth knowledge." When we have the largest iip- 
prehensions of this love, so that we think we com^ 
prebend it and know it, it '* passeth knowledge;"^ 
yea, theeflfects of God's power and love, which he 



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217 

manil^ts itk b^lieVerd, ate unspeakable; for '^ he is 
able to <]o for us exceeding abundantly, above what 
we can ask or think, according to the power which 
wprketh in us/' (Eph. iii. 20.) The peace which 
guards their souls ^^passeth all understanding,^" 
(Phil. iv. 7.) Those "joys which fill their hearts 
are not to be expressed.'^ (1 Pet. i. 8.) We read of 
" joy unspeakable and full of glory." The happi« 
ness which they hope for is inconceii^able ; it is 
that which " eye hath not seen^ nor ear heard, nor 
hath entered into the heart of man, which God hath 
laid up for us." 

The ways of God's providence, they are not to be 
traced : (Psal. Ixxvii. 19.) '^Thy way is in the sea, 
and thy paths in the great waters, and thy footsteps 
are not known." (Eccles* iii. 1 1.) '^ No man can find 
out the work that God maketh from the beginning 
to the end." We are but of yesterday, and know 
nothing. When we look upon Gdd's providence, 
We take a part from the whole, and consider it by 
itself, without relation to the whole series of his dis- 
pensation ; we cannot see the whole of God's pro* 
vidence at one view, and never see from the begin* 
ning of the works of God to the end ; therefore our 
knowledge of them must needs be very imperfect, 
and full of mistakes, and false judgments of things; 
we cannot, by our petty and short-sighted designs^ 
judge of the works of God, and the designs of pro- 
vidence; for "our ways are not as his ways, nor 
our thoughts as his thoughts ; but as the, heavens 
are high above the earth, so. are his ways above our 
wayM, and his thoughts above our thoughts,'* (tsa* 
lv.8, 9.) The ways of God's mercy: (Psal. ciii.) 
** As the heavens are high aboye the earth, so great 
is God's mercy." (Psal. cxxxix. 17, 18.) "How 

VOL. VII. Q 



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?1« 

pQMiew are tby thoughts uoto me I how great is the 
fiuto of them 1 If I tibould count them, they are 
niore in uumber than the sand.'' And the ways of 
God'iEi judgments, the severity and greatness of his 
judgment is not known. (Psal. xc.) " Who knoweth 
the power of thine anger ? and who may stand be«- 
fone thee when thou art angry ?** And the reasons 
' of his judgments are unsearchable : (Paal. xxxvi. 
6.) ** Tby judgments are a great deep." (Rom. xi. 
33«) ^ Bow unsearchable ate his judgments, and his 
wayss past finding out!" These are the instances 
on the part of the object. 

2, On the part of the subject, or the persons ca- 
pable of knowing God in any measure. The per- 
fect knowledge of God is above a finite creature's 
wderstanding* Wicked men are ignorant of God, 
and full 0S false apprehensions of him. The Scrip- 
tui:e gites this descriptionofthem: they are those 
that *Vk«ow not God." (2 Thess. i.) Wicked men 
are so far from knowing God to perfection, that 
they have hardly any true knowledge of him ; for 
as the .man himself is, ao will God seem to be to 
him ; the idea and notions which men have of God, 
is but the picture of their own complexion. To a 
true knowledge there is required likeness ; a man's 
inind must be like the thing he would understand ; 
therefore the apostle tells us, '* the natural or imi^ 
mal man doth not receive the things of God," he is 
pot capable of them, because his mind is unsuitable 
to them \ he is irXnpri^ rw 2ai/iaroc, ^' full of body," 
and he cannot relish spiritual things ; even those 
natural notions, which wicked men have of God, 
are strangely tinctured and obscured by the tem- 
per of the man ; they are lux sepvUa in opaca ma- 
teria, ^* li^pht buried and hid in matter and darkness,** 



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• 

in tbe blackoess of a foal and taqiure heart ; so Uiat 
there is no question of them, whether they conpre^ 
hend €iod or not. 

But good men cannot find out God, (hey have 
some false apprehensions o# him ; all their appre^ 
hensions are dark, hare macfa of ob«cority in them ; 
they know God to salvation, but not to perfection. 
In this Ufe we do but know God in part ; that i8> m 
comparison of the knowledge which our natores 
are capable of. 

But I will instance yet higher : the angeU, and the 
spirits of just men made perfect, though they bar^ 
true apprehensions of God, yet they do not arrive 
to perfect knowledge of him, they cannot pervtsH- 
gate ultima^ ** know the utmost of God f the che- 
rubims themselves are continually looking at the 
mercy-seat. To which the apostle alludes, (tPet. u 
12.) when he tells us the mystery of God's mercy 
in the gospel, is a thing *^ which the angels desired 
to pry into." In heaven, ^'that which is in part 
shall be done away ;** that is, our knowledge shall 
be as perfect as our naturep are capable; bat it 
shaU be finite. When we shall <^ see God face to 
face ;^ that is, have an immediate vision of him^ 
*' and see him as be is ;'' that is, not haviqg our nn^ 
derstandings tinctured by any lust or passiion that 
may darken our minds, or misrepresent the ob^ 
ject ; for the apostle tells us, '^ we shall see }^xb, 
because we shall be like him f yet then we shaH 
have short and inadequate apprehensions of liini^ 
we shall still retain our limited natures and finite 
understandings. 

II. By way of conviction. Dost thou know peii- 
fectly the nature of a finite spirit, the perfection 
and the power of an angel, how, being immaterialv 

a 2 



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they caa itct upon the matter, and move that wbicb 
cao make ud resistance to a spirit ? Dost thou know 
bow they can move themselves to a great distance 
in amoikient, and dart themselves frotn one part 
of the world to another? J>ost thou know how 
man is '^ formed in the lowest parts of the earth,'' 
as the Psalmist expresseth it, and the curious frame 
of our bodies is wrought from stieh rude principles hi 
so dark a shop? Canst thou give an account how 
the soul is united to the body, by what bands or 
holds a spirit is so closely and intimately conjoined 
to matter? Dost thou know how thyself under- 
standest any thing,and canst retain the distinct ideas 
and notions of so many objects without confusion ? 
JDo&t thou know the least parts of matter how they 
are knit together ; and by what cement they cleave 
HO fast to one another, that they can hardly be 
separated? 

Now if the creatures be so tinsearchable, and the 
knowledge of these he too hard for thee, is not the 
Creator' of them much more incomprehensible, who 
poBsesseth all these perfectiona which he commu- 
nicates, and many which cannot be commi\nicated 
to & creature? If in natural and sensible things, 
WMxinui pars eorum qtue scimus, est mmma pti^s 
earumquienescimus; how much more is it trqe of 
God, that ** our ignorance is more than our know- 
ledge,^ whi^'the whole earth and all the creatures 
bear no proportion to him? (Isa.xK 15. 17.) ''Be- 
jhold, all the nations of the earth are as the drop of 
the bucket, and as the small dust of the balance ; 
aH nations before him are nothing, and are accounted 
to him less than nothing." 

IlL By shewing you the clear reason of it, which 
iis this— the disproportion between the faculty and 



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the object, the fioitenesB of our uuderataodiogs, aud 
the iQ^niteness of the Pivioe nature and perfections. 
*^ Qod is greater than our hearts ;" and therefore as 
he knows more than we do, as the apostle reasons, 
{I John iii^ 20.) so he is more than can be known by 
us; he is too i^ast an object for our understanding 
to entertain, foj^our minds to receive. Thou mayest 
as well mete out the heaven with a span, and mea- 
sure the waters in the hollow of thy hand, and 
comprehend the dust of the earth in a little urn, 
and weigh the mountains in^cales^ and the hills in 
a little balance, as think to circumscribe God in 
the narrow limits of thy thoughts, or to bring that 
which is infinite within the compass of that which 
is finite. 

And there is not only the vastness and greatness 
of the object, but the glory and resplendency of it 
does &o dazzle our sight, that we cannot perfectly 
see it: (1 Tim. vi. 16.) " He d^elleth in light, which 
uo man can approach unto; whom no man hath 
seen, nor can see/' As God is too big, so he is too 
1;»right an object for our understandings; the pre- 
sei>ce of his glory overpowers our minds, and bears 
dqwii our faculties^ and conquers our understand' 

I come now to apply this doctrine of the incom- 
prehensibleness of the Divine nature. If the na- 
ture, and perfjections, and ways, and works of God 
be incomprehensible, and past finding out; 

I. It calls for our admiration, and veneration, and 
reverence. These are the best apprehensions of 
him that is incomprehensible; a silent veneration 
qf his excellencies, is the best acknowledgment of 
them. We m4ist admire what we cannot appre^ 
l^nd or express, (Zech. ix. 17.) ** How great is his 



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222. 

goodness, and how great is his beauty !** The best 
wsly to celebrate the praises of God, is that i^hich 
Niehemiah nseth, (Nebem. \x. 6.) *' And blessed be 
thy glorions name, which is exalted above ail bless- 
iiig ietnd praise.** Whenevei* we speak or think of 
God, we necessarily detract froni his perfections ; 
hnt even this necessity is glorions to him, and this 
speaks his perfection, that the highest finite nnder- 
standing mnst have imperfect thoughts of him. 

We should make up in reverence and veneration 
what we fall short of in knowledge. Reverence is 
an acknowledgment of distance ; by our reverence of 
the DiVine Majesty, we should best awe our hearts, 
in a sense of the distance which b between his in* 
finite nature and perfection, and our finite apprehen- 
sions. Worldly greatness will cause wonder, the 
thoughts of earthly majesty will compose us to re- 
verence ; how much more should those excellencies 
which are beyond what we can imagine ? (Isa. vi.) 
You have there Grod represented sitting upon his 
throne, and the seraphims about him, which are 
described to us as having ^* each six wings, and with 
twain they cover their faces.'* Creatures of the 
brightest understanding, and the most exalted purity 
and holiness^ cover their faces in the presence of 
God's glory ; they choose rather to venerate Grod, 
than look upon him. 

IJ. This calls fbr humility and modesty. The 
consideration of God's unsearchable perfections 
should make ** the haughtiness of man to stoop, and 
bring down his proud looks, and God alone should 
be exalted.** The thought of God's excellency 
should abase us, and make us ^^ vile in onr own 
eyes ;** it should make all those petty excellencies 
that we pride ourselves in, to vanish and disappear. 



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223 

^ Tkom ireaiBures of wiisdom and 1cDOw||^ge^ which 
areiftGod, ehoisld ''bide pffkk from itma :" it shauUl 
Mde those Kttle parts and ptte wUcfa we are so apt: 
Id glory in, lis the Mn hides tBe stars* When we 
consider €Sod, we should be so fiatr from admiring 
onrselyes, that we should, with a hnmble thank- 
folnessy wonder that God should regard such inom* 
siderable mrthings as we are. (Psal. Yiii« i. 3, 4.) 
'^ O Lord onr God^ bow excelleat is thy namie is 
Hi the eardi^ who hast set thy glwy abore the 
heavens 1 When I consider the beaveiis, the work 
of lAky fingers, the jboob and the stars which thou 
basit eirdained ; what is man, that thoo art mJndful 
<tf Mm? <» the son of man, thai thwi visitest him T 
He that consider» the glory «l G^,. and the gj<eat« 
Bess o§ his works, will think so meanly o€ himself 
that he will be astonished that God should mind 
him or visit him. Tbis is a noble strain of humilitjn 
in David, by which he acknowledgeth tfa^t the great* 
est king of the earth, bow consideitable soever he 
uMiy be m respect of men,, is y^ but a pitiAd thing 
io God. 

When we speak to Godi,. we should do it witli 
great hamility. (Ecctea v. 2, 3.) " Lei thy words 
be few. Air God is in heaven^ and thoa upon earth.'' 
We shouM say to God, (Job xxxvit. 19.) '' Teach 
mm what we shall say unto thee» for we oadnot Drdet 
our speech by reason of darkness/' And when we 
Ihink or speak of him, we should do it with great 
modesty ; we should not ra£4ily pronomice or deter- 
mide atiy thing conceming God« Simonide^ being 
asked what God was, desired one day's time to 
consider; then he desired two^ and then four. The 
more we think of God, the less peremptory shall 
we be in defining him. He that considers that God 



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224 

is incompr^eosible, will not preteud to know M 
Ike ways of infinite knowledge, and the utmost of 
infinite power, and all the reasons of God's ways 
and providences. He that rightly values his own 
short understanding, and the unlimited perfedtions 
of God, will not be apt to say, this God cannot do, 
this he cannot know, such ways are not agreeable 
to hid wisdom. He that knows God and himself, 
will be modest in these cases ; he will k^ccn, abstain 
from all peremptory pronouncing in these matters; 
he considers that one man many times differ^ so 
much from another in knowledge, and skill of work- 
ing, that he can do those things which another be- 
lieves impossible: but we have pitiful thoughts of 
God, if we think the difference between one man and 
another, is any thing to the vast distance that is 
between the Divine understanding and our igno- 
rance, the Divine power and our weakness, the wisv 
dom of God and the folly of men. 

in. The incomprehensibleness of God's perfecr 
tions calls for the highei^t d^ree of our affection. 
How shoufd we fear this great and glorious God ! 
(Psal. xc. 11.) "Who knoweth the power of thine 
anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.'* 
Fear is the most infinite of all our passions, and fills 
us with the most endless jealousy and suspicions : 
God'S wrath is greater than our fear ; ^^ according 
to thy fear, so is thy wrath.** 
^ How should we love him, when we are astonished 
with admiration of God^s goodness, and say, " How 
great is thy goodness, and how great is thy beauty! 
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath be-: 
stowed upon us !'' How great should our love be 
to him ! what manner of love should we return to 
him! 



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225 

This calls tot the highest degree of our faith. 
With what confidence should we rely upon him, 
^' who is able to do for us exceeding above what we 
can ask or think !" 

To conclude* This requires the highest degree 
of our service : how should pur hearts be ^^ enlarged 
to run the way of his commandments,'' who hath 
laid up for us such things, ^^ that eye hath not seen, 
por ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of 

roaar 



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SERMON CLVIL 

dOB THfiE^ FIMt CAtJMy M^n lAfT B1I9. 

1^ qf himy and through him,, and (o him, are all 
things; to w&om be glorjf /or ever^ Amen. — 
Rom. XI. 36. 

Having considered the more eminent and absolute 
perfections of the Divine nature, as also that which 
results from the infinite excellency and perfection of 
God, compared with the imperfection of our under- 
standiogs, I come, in the last place, to treat of such 
as are merely and purely relative : as, that he is the 
first cause, and the last end, of all things ; to which 
purpose I have chosen these words of the apostle 
for the subject of my present discourse, " For of 
him, and through him," &c* 

The dependance of these words upon the former, 
is briefly this. The apostle had been speaking be- 
fore in this chapter, several things that might tend 
to raise us to an admiration of the wisdom, and 
goodness, and mercy of God, in the dispensation of 
his grace for the salvation of men, both Jews and 
gentiles, and therefore would have us ascribe this 
work wholly to God ; the contrivance of it to his 
wisdom, and not to^ our own counsels, (ver. 34.) 
^* For who hath known the mind of the Lord ; and 
who hath been his counsellor?" And the bestow- 
ing this grace to his free goodness and mercy, and 
not to any desert of ours, (ver. 35.) ** Or who hath 
first given to Mm, and it shall be recompensed to 
faim again ?" Yea, and not only in the dispensation 



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22t 

of grace, but of all good things ; not only in this work 
of redemption, bat also of creation ; God is the fbun- 
taiti atid original, and first cause, from whence every 
thing proceeds ; and the last end, to which every 
thing is to be referred ; ** For of him," &c. !£ avVov, 
"from him,^ the efficient cause producing all things; 
X avrou, ** by or through him," as the efficient con« 
serving cause of all things ; koI etc avrov, ** and to 
him," as the final cause of all things, and the end 
for which they were made. 

The proposition I shall speak to, is, that God is 
tlie first cause, and last end. 

First, I shdli a little explain the terms. 

Secondly, Confirm the proposition. 

Thirdly, Apply it. 

First, For the explication of the terms. 

I. That God is the first cause, signifies, 

1. Negatively, That he had no cause, did not de- 
rive his being from any other, or does depend upon 
any other being ; but that he was always, and eter- 
nally of himself. 

2. Positively, That he is the cause of all things 
besides himself, the fountain and original of all 
created beings, from whom all things proceed, and 
upon whom all things depend ; or, that I may use 
the expression of St. John, (John i. 3.) which I know 
is appropriated to the second person in the Trinity, 
*' By him all things were made, and without him was 
nothing made, that was made." So that when we 
attribute to God,, that he is the first, we mean, that 
there was nothing before him, and that he was before 
all things, and that all things are by him. 

II. The last end ; that is, that all things refer to 
him ; that is, the design and aim of all things that 
>are made, is the illustration of God's glory some 



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228 
way or otJt^er^ and the maDifestation of bi^ p^rfeq^, 

tioJQB. 

Secondly, For the conBrmation, il shall briefly^ 
apcording to my usual method, attempt it these twO; 
ways: ... 

I. By natural light. The notion of a God con^ 
tains in it all possible perfection^ Now the utmost 
perfection we can imagine, is, for a being to be al- 
ways of itself, before all other beings ; apd not only 
so, but to be the cause of all other things; that is, 
tl)at there should be, nothing but what derives its 
being from him, and continually depends upon him; 
from whence follows, that all things must refer to 
him as their last end. For e\^ry wise agent acts 
with design, and in order to an and. Now the ead 
is that which is best, which is most worthy the at- 
taining, and that is God himself. Now. his beipg 
and perfections are already; and the best, next, to 
the existence of his being and perfections, is the ma- 
nifestation of them^ which is called God's glory ; 
and this is the highest end that we can imagine, to 
which all the effects of the Pivine power, and |;ood^ 
Bess, and wisdom, do refer* 

And that these titles are to be attributed to God^ 
is not only reasonable, when it is revealed and dis- 
covered, but was discovered by the natural light of 
the heathens. Hence it was that Aristotle gav^ 
God those titles of the first being, the i^rst cause, 
and the first mover ; and his master Plato calls God 
the author and parent of all things, the maker and 
architect of the world, and of all creatures, the 
fountain and original of all things. Porphyry calls 
^pm TO 7rp<irov, " the first r from whence he reasons to 
this sense, that he is the ultimate end, and that all 
things move towards God ; that all motions centre 



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229 

m him i becatise (saith he) it is most proper and lia* 
intsl lor things to refer to their original, abd to re- 
fer^l to.hiiti from M^hom they receive all. Anto- 
sious, the emperor and phHosopher, speaking of pa-^ 
tore (which with the Stoics signifies God) had these 
words, which are so very like these of the apostle,! 
that they may seem to be taken from hkn ; i/c <fov vivra^ 
iv aoi vavrof tec o« iravra ; ^^ Of thee are all things; in 
thee are all things ; to thee are all things." 

II. From Scripture. Hither belong all. those 
places where he declares himself to he '' the first and 
the last/' (I$a. xli. 4.) 'VWho hath wrought and 
done it^ calling the generations from the beginning? 
I the Lord, the first, and with the last ; I am he.'* 
(Isa; xliiL 10.) ** Before me there was no God form-, 
ed, (or, as it is in the margin, ' there was nothing 
formed of God,') neither shall there be after me." 
(Isa. xliv. 6.) '* I am the first, and I am the last ; and 
besides me there is no God." (Isa. xlviii. 12, 13.) '' I 
am the first ; I am also the last : my hand hath laid 
the foundation of the earth; my right hadd bath 
S|H*ead the heavens :" which is as much as to^say,- 
he hath made the.world, and was the first cause of 
I^U things. (Rev. i. 8.) ** I am Alpha and Om^a, the 
beginning and the end, saith the Lord ; which is^ 
attd which was, and which is to €M>Oie.'' 

But more expressly, (1 Cor. viii. G.) •** But to ua 
there is hot one God the Father, of whom are all 
things, and we by him," Kai lifMuc m avrov, ^' and we to 
bim, and for him." (Acts xvii. 24.) '' God, that made 
the worlds and all things therein." (Yer. 25.) '' Hegiv- 
eth t^ all life, and breath, and all things." (Yer. 28.) 
** hx him we live, and move, and have our beii^.'* 
(Yer. %9.) ^* Forasmuch then as we are the ofifspring 
of God." 



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330 

Hither ve may refer those texts which attribute 
the same to the second Person in t^ Trinity, as thtf 
eternal wisdom and word of God, whereby all tbings 
were made, (John i. 3.) ** All things were mad^ by 
him, and without him was nothing made that wae 
made." (Ver. 10.) ** And the world was made hj 
him." (1 Cor. viii. 6.) '* And one Lord Jesus Chrisi 
.by whom are all things, and we by him." (£ph. iii* 
9.) ** God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.'^ 
(Col. i. 16, 17.) ^* By him were all things created that 
are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invi* 
sible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or 
principalities, or powers ; all things wene created by 
him, and for him ; and he is before ail things, and by 
him all things consist." (Heb. u 9.) '^ By whom 
also he made the worlds." And, (ver. 3%) ^ Uphold* 
ing all things by the word of his power. 

Thirdly, and lastly, To apply this doctrine. 

Use. First, If God be the first cause of all things^ 
who did at first produce all creatures, and does 
since preserve them, and govern them, and dis* 
poseth of all their concernments, and orders aH 
things that befal them : from hence let us learn, 

1. With humility and thankfulness to own, an4 
acknowledge, and admire, and bless God, as theau^ 
thor and original of our being, as the spring ati4 
fountain of all the blessings and good things that 
we enjoy. If we do but consider what these words 
signify, that God is the first cause of all things, we 
shall see great reason to own and acknowledge, -to 
adore and praise him, and that with the greatest 
humility, because we have not given him any thing, 
but have received all from him ; he is the cause of all 
things, who did freely, and of his own good will 
and pleasure, communicate being to us without nnf 



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231 

oMttiwDt t«r necessity) l»Qt what his own good^ 
&688 laid tipon him. (Hev. iv. 11.) ^^Tbob art 
worthy, O Lord, to Toeeive glory, and honour, 
and powers for thou hast created all things^ and 
for thy pleasure they are and were created.^ We 
could not before we were deserve any thing from 
him, pr move him by any argument, or impor-^ 
tune him by entreaties to make us ; but he freely 
gave us being, and ever einoe we depend upon hiin» 
Mid have been preserved by him, and cannot ^ubsrist 
one inoment without the contiuued influence of (he 
power and goodness which first called us out of 
nothing. He is the author of alMhe good, and the 
fountain of all those blessings, which for the pre^ 
sent we enjoy, and for the future hope for. 

When he made us at first, he designed- us for hap^ 
piness ; and when we, by our sin and wilful miscar-^ 
riage, fell short of the happiness which be desigbed 
us for, he sent his Son into the world for our reco« 
very, and gave bis life for the ransom of our souls. 
He hath not only admitted us into a new covenant, 
wSiwein he hath promised pardon and eternal life to 
us ; but he hath also purchased these blessings for 
us by the most endearing price, the blood of his 
own Son, and hath saved us in such a manner as 
may jujstly astonish us. Upon these considerations 
we should awaken ourselves to the praise of God^ 
and, with the holy Psalmist, call up our spirits, and 
summon all the powers and faculties of our souls, to 
assist us in this work. (Psal. ciii. 1—4, &c.) ^ Bless 
the Lord, O my sohl, and all that is within me, bless 
his holy name ; bless the Lord, O my soul, and for^ 
get not all his benefits ; who fofgiveth all thy ini^ 
quities, who healeth all thy diseases, who redeem* 
eth thy life from destruction, who crOwneth thee 
with loving'^kindness and tender mercies ;" it is he 



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232 

that ** satisfied our soul witl^ good things,*' that hath 
prpniised eternal lif^ and happiness to us» and must 
confer and bestow this upon: us; ''therefore our 
souls, and all that is within us, should, bless bis 
holy name." 

2* If God be the first cause, that is, orders all 
things that befal us, and by bis providence disposeth 
of all bur concern men ts^ this should teach us with 
patience and quietness to submit to all events, to all 
evils and afflictions that come upon us, as beiag dis^ 
posed by his wise providence, and coming from 
him : we are apt to attribute all things to the next 
and immediate agent, and to look no higher than se- 
cond causes, not considering that all. the motions of 
natural causes are directly subordinate to the first 
cause; and all the actions of free creatures are un- 
der the government of God's wise provide^ice, so 
that nothing happens to us besides the de$igns and 
intention of God. 

And methinks this is one particular excellency . of 
the style of the Scripture above all other books^ 
that the constant phrase of the sacrisd dialect is to 
attribute all events (excepting sins only) to God } so 
that. every one that reads it, cannot but take notice 
that it is wrote with a more attentive coqsideratioa 
of God than any other book, as appears by those 
frequent and express acknowledgiu^nts of God as 
the cause of all events ; so that what in other 
writers would be said to be done by this or that 
person, is ascribed to God. Thereibre itis so often 
said, that the Lord did this and thi^t, stirred up 
such an enemy, brought such a judgment. And wo 
shall find that hol^ men, in. Scripture, make excel- 
lent use of this consideration, to argqe them.aelyes 
into patience and contentedness in every condition. 
So Eli : (1 Sam. iii. 18.) '' It is the Lord, let hiui do 



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233 

urbat seeoleth him good.'' So Job, he did not so 
consider the Sabeans and Chaldeans, who had car- 
ried away his ojien and his camels, and slain his 
servants ; nor the wind which had thrown down his 
house, and killed his sons and his daughters ; but 
he looks up to God, the great governor and disposer 
of all these events;'*' The Lord giveth, and the 
Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the 
Lord." So David, (Psal. xxxix. 9.) " I was dumb» 
and spake not a word ; because thou, Lord, didst 
it.*' So our blessed Saviour,, when he was ready to 
suffer, he did not consider the inalice of the Jews» 
which was the cause of his death, but looks to a 
higher hand ; ^* The cup which my Father gives me 
to drink, shall not I drink it?" 

He that looks upon all things as coming from se- 
cond causes, and does not eye the first cause, the 
good and wise Governor, will be apt to take offence 
at every cross and unwelcome accident. Men are 
apt to be angry, when one flings water upon them 
as they pass in the strleets ; but no man is offended ; 
if he is wet by rain from heaven* When we look 
XI pon evils as coming pnly from men, we are apt to 
be impatient,, and know not how to bear them ; but 
.we should look upon all things as under the govern- 
ment and disposal of the first cause, and the cir- 
cumstances of every condition a^ allotted to us by 
the wise providence of God ; this consideration, 
that it is the hand of God, and that he hath done it, 
would still all the raurmurings of our spirits. As 
Ivhen a seditious multitude is in an uproar, the pre- 
sence of a grave and venerable person will hush the 
noise, and quell the tumult; so, if we would but re- 
present God as present to all actions, and govern- 
ing and disposing all events, this would still and 

VOL. VII. R 



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«34. 

^pltoia'Ottr^^Ht^ when 'tbey are ready^to rtot^itid 
iMltitfy^bgHldst tatyy«df bfc^dispemations. 

U«e ^the second. If God be the laBt end of all, 
tH tfs'tiiabeiiim diirflflst'tod, and risfer all onrac- 
(ions to hfe glory. This is 'that %^hiob is due to hiai» 
ite'be'is'the'flmt cause, <and therefore be do^ most 
ftttsoMbly requireit bf ds. 

•And herein, lik^^ise, the Scripture doth toed 
dl'Other books ; <that is, doth more freqdently and 
ttiipiiessly^mind us of this end, and calls upon mto 
}>r6^0se It to ourselves as ourultimaie aim add de- 
rigfki. We «houlll love him as our chidf end ; (Matt. 
9ljA\. 37:) ** Thou ^halt late the Lord thy Ood with 
all tfary'h^rt, and with all thy BOiil, dnd with all>thy 
mind." Thus to love God, is that which in 'tbeilan* 
gttajg^df the schoolsis Idving God as our'cliief end. 
80, Ukewisb, the ^apostle requires that we should 
t'l^flsr'albtfae actions of our lives to this end: (iGor. 
^ 31.) '* Whiitfaer ye eat or drink, do all to the 
l^oi^^fGod ;" that wb should ''glorify him in our 
tiObte,<tedd in our bodies, ivhich are his.'' He is^tbe 
^Mhor'of ^UUhe'powers that weihote, and there- 
Ibi^we^ should use them fOr him ; we do all by him, 
imd (bet^forcwe should do all to him. 

'And thttt'wemay the better underiitand ourselvta 
'ds^foUhisduty, I shall endeavour to givlB satisiae^ 
tloii^to^a question or two, which may arise about it 

^First, Whether an actual intention of God's 
^otyl>e»neces8ary to make every action that we do 
^od'^d acceptable to God? 

'AMWer.^-1. It is necessary that tfaeglory of God, 
seliher^fbrmalFy or virtually, should be the ultimate 
'4nd 'anb ^seope of our lives, and «llI<our actiofia*; 
dfh^r^iito, Uhey v^ill be defective in that ^ich in 
^moral^iictioM is inost considerable, and that is, the 



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2S5 

^end. If a imax) should keep all Uie coinmaQdiiifints 
lof Ihegospel/thifitexc^ted) of makiog God's glQrfr 
hin supreme end, only with a design to gain reputa- 
tion, or some other advantage in the world, this very 
thing would vitiate all, and render him unaccepta- 
ble ^ to God. 

2. It is very requisite and convenient, as a good 
sign, that we should very frequently actually think 
upon, and intend, this end ; for if it be very mucb 
out of our thoughts, we have some reason to be jea* 
lotts of ourselves, that we do not intend it at all. 

3. It is so far from being necessary, that we 
should in every action have this intention of God*s 
glory, that it is not morally possible that we should, 
no more than it is possible, ! that a man that goes a - 
journey of a thousand miles, should every step he \ 
takes have actual thoughts of his journey's end^; nor / 
is it more necessary ; for consideration of the end» 
is only so £atr necessary, as it is necessary to guide 
and quicken us in the use of means; aa it is not 
necessary for a man to think of his journey's end, 
farther thau to direct and excite him to go thither. 
And this appears farther by the contrary ; it is not 
necessary to make a sinful action, that a man should 
formally, much less actually, intend God's disho- 
nour ; it is enough to constitute a man a wicked 
man, if he willingly transgress God's law, the doing 
'Whereof does« by consequence, reflect a dishonour 
upon him; so, on the other hand, it is. sufficient to 
make an action good and acceptable, if it be con- 
formable ta God's law, and such as by consequence 
redounds to God's glory. 

Second question. Whether the glory of God 
may or ought to be. considered as an end separate 
And diitspctfrnta) o«ir own happiness? 

B 3 



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336 

Answer. — I shall 8peak but briefly to this, because 
I have elsewhere spoken to it; but in that little which 
I have to say for satisfaction to this question, I wid 
proceed by these steps : 

L By the glory of God, we mean the demonstra- 
tion, or illustration, or manifestation, of some or all 
of his perfections, more especially his goodness, and 
mercy, and justice, and wisdom, ind power, and 
holiness. 

tl. It is plain, that the manifestation of some of 
these perfections is a thing that may be separated 
from the happiness of a creattye ; for his holiness, 
and justice, and power, may and shall be mani*-' 
fested in the final and eternal ruin of impenitent 
sinners. 

III. Th^ manifestation of any of Ciods perfec- 
tions^ ought many times to be propounded by us as 
an end distinct and separate from our respective 
happiness ; such a happiness as respects only some 
particulars, and some particular duration, in oppo^ 
sition to absolute and eternal happiness. In this 
sense our Saviour says, that he '^ sought not his 
own glory, but the glory of him that sent Him :" by 
which he does not mean, that he quitted everlasting 
glory and happiness; but that, in order to the glory 
of Grod, be did for a time lay aside his own glory, 
and divest himself of it while he was in this world ; 
for the apostle tells us, that he was encouraged to 
do this out of a respect to a greater glory, (Heb. 
xii. 2.) " Who, for the joy that was set before him, 
endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set 
down at the right hand of the throne of God." And 
in this sensie we are to understand the command of 
self-denial in the gospel, with reference to our par- 
ticular or temporal, not our eternal interest ; and 



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that it is DO more, is plain ^rom the argumeut our 
Saviour uses to encourage this self-denial, the pro- 
mise of a far greater happiness than that we deny; 
no roan that '* forsakes father or mother fpr-roy szke, 
but shall have eternal life :'" and proportiouably 
we are to understand those commands of loving 
Christ more than ourselves ; that is, more than any 
temporal interest. 

IV. The manifestation of any of God's perfections, 
neither ought nor can reasonably be propoudded by 
us ^8 aa end separated from, or opposite to our 
eternarblesdedness ; that is, we cannot naturally or 
reasonably deisire the glory of God should be ad- 
vanced, though i^ were to our final ruin, either by 
annihilation or eternal misery. 

J. W^e cannot, either naturally or reasonably, de- 
sire God should be glorified by our annihilation. 

(1.) Not naturally. Because such a desire would 
b^ directly contrary to the natgraj desire of self- 
preservatioQ, which God himself hath planted in u^^ 
and is most intimate and essential to our natur^e^ 

(2.) Not reasonably. Because it is utterly nnimar 
ginable bow God can be glorified by the annihila- 
tion of a creature. All the attributes that we iqan^ 
imagine can be manifested heriein^ are poj^er and so- 
vereignty ; his power hath already been as much 
manifested in creating and making the creature out 
of nothing, as it can be by reducing it into nothing ; 
for to create, is the very same demonstration of 
power as to annihilate. And as for his sovereignty, 
God will never manifest that in contradiction to his 
goodness, or wisdom^ or any other perfection of the 
Divine nature. To unmake a creature, and take 
away the being which he had given, would argue 
either a failure of his goodness toward the creaturjB^ 



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or thst he did' repent that he had made it« which 
woald reflect upon hi» wisdom and constancy. 1 
do not say, that injustice God cannot annihilate a 
creature ; far be it from me : for what he gave was 
his own, and he might without any wrong to the 
creature take it again. 

2, Much less can we naturally desire that God 
should be glorified in our eternal misery. The rea- 
sons which I give about annihilation are stronger 
here; ^erefore we cannot naturally desire it, nop 
reasonably, for the demonstration of his power, op 
sovereigntjr, or justice, or holiness, which, I diink, 
are all the attributes which we can imagine to be 
glorified hereby : not as the manifestation, of his 
power ; for that would be a» much manifested m 
the happiness, as misery of the creature : not of his 
sovereignty ; for God will not manifest that in con* 
Iradiction to his goodness, upon which nothing can 
reflect more, than merely, pro arlritrio, for his plea^ 
sure, to make an innocent creature for ever misera« 
ble: not his justice and holiness; for .these pre^ 
suppose sin and demerit in the creature, out of 
hatred to which he makes it miserable ; but God 
hath declared that he esteems himself more gloriflecl 
by the obedience and happiness of his creatures^ 
than by their sin and destruction; and if it were rea* 
sonable to desire the justice and holiness of God 
might be glorified in my eternal ruin, which I have 
deserved by sin ; this would plainly follow fi'om it, 
that it were reasonable to sin, that justice might) 
abound : which of the two is a greater absurdity than 
that which the apostle condemns of *' sinning that 
grace may abound/' 

y. There is a strict and inviolable connexion be- 
tween the greatest glory of God and our obedience 



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l)6caus6 h^^ ^t|eem#;hifq|5iel^ moxP' glftrified, Ify. t)m 
ebecUeiice and happipess of hi»€cei^tMr^f, tjian^bvy. 
tliieir ruiniapd qiisery;: and; that w^ a^y.b^i^ve i(^ 
we have his oajlii for it; '' Aa I live) sfuth tl^e J^qrd» 
I deljght qot in tb^. death; of a sinner^ but ralbei; 
tfuU he should turn ai^d live." Afld. it is obsenrablop 
that the apostle, in 1 Cor,, u. 3J— 3Q, '' Whether 
ye eat or dmk^ or whaitsoQV;er ye do> cjp all tp ttif^ 
l^ory of God:: giving none. oflT^noe, neither to^th^ 
Jews, qor to the gentiles^ nor to th^ cl^urch of God : 
even as I; please alii meo in 9U things, uot seeking 
mine ovirn profit, hut the pro^t of many, thi^t theg^ 
ipay be saved,;" ej^plaius^U^e glorifying of God, bjj 
^ifyjng ^nd pi;oa)otiag thid SfdyaAion qf; others. 

VL We may consider the glory of God, as sQif^ 
ways distinct from our happiness ; that is, we may 
consider the manifestation of his goodness, and 
mercy, and wisdom, in our happiness, as that 
which results from it; but this is not enough to 
make it a distinct end, but the same diversely con- 
sidered ; as the public good is that which results 
from the general good of particular persons, but 
cannot reasonably be propounded by any man, as 
an end distinct from the general happiness of par- 
ticular persons, without ruining and destroying the 
notion of public good. 

VIL Though considered as we are particular 
beings, we can have no greater end than our own 
happiness, in which Grod is eminently glorified ; yet, 
as we are part of the whole creation and workman* 
ship of God, which is the noblest consideration of 
ourselves, the glory of God, which results from the 
manifestation of all his perfections in and about his 
creatures, is precisely opr ultimate end, and yet not 



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240 

an end really distinct from 6ur own happiness; and 
therefore, it is most proper, and becoming, and 
agreeable to the wise style of Scripture, to give our 
end' its denomination, not from the more particular 
and narrow, biit the more noble consideration of 
ourselves, as we are parts of the whole creation and 
workmanship of God ; as it is more generous and 
becoming for the members of a civil society to men- 
tion the public good as their end, than their private 
happiness and advantage, though that be so really 
and effectually promoted by the public good. 

Thus I have finished what I proposed on this 
argument, and concerning the attributes of God in 
general; ** Of whom, and through whom, and to 
whom, are all things: to him be glory for ever. 
Amen." 



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SERMON CLVIIL 

THE NECESSITY OF REPENTANCE AND FAITH. 

Testifying both to the Jews^ and also to the Greeks^ 
repentance toward God, and faith toward our 
Lord Jesus Christ. — Acts xx, 21. 

To have seen St. Paul in the pulpit, was one of 
those three things which St. Augustine thought 
worth the wishing for. And sure it were very de- 
sirable to have seen this glorious instrument of God, 
who did such wonders in the world, to have heard 
that plain and powerful eloquence of his, which 
was so ** mighty through God, for the casting down 
of strong holds, and the subduing of men to the 
obedience of the gospel ;' to have beheld the zeal 
of this holy man, who was all on fire for God, with 
what ardency of affection, and earnestness of ex- 
pression, he persuaded men to come in to Christ, 
and entertain the gospel. This were very desir- 
able; but seeing it is a thing we cannot hope for, it 
should be some satisfaction to our curiosity, to 
know what St. Paul preached, what was the main 
subject of his sermons, whither he referred all his 
discourses, and what they tended to. This he tells 
us in the words that 1 have read to you, that the 
main substance of all his sermons was *^ Repents 
ance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus 
Christ" 

The occasion of the words was briefly this; St. 
Paul beiog in his journey to Jerusalem, and in* 



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243 

tending to be there by the day of PeDtecost, thai 
he might not be hindered in bis journey, he resolves 
to pass by Ephesus, and only to call to him the 
elders of the chur.chy to charge them with their 
duty, and the care of the church ; and to engage 
them hereto, he tells them how he had carried and 
demeaned himself among them, (ver. 18.) with what 
diligence and vigilance he had watched over them^ 
with what affection, and earnestness be had preach- 
ed to them, (ver. 19, S50.) And here in the text, he 
tells them what had been the sum of his doctrine^, 
and the sitbstance< of ttiose many seriBOQS^ he had 
preached among them, and what was the end' audi 
design of all hia discourses ; viz. To persuade niei^ 
tp *^ repentance toward God, and faiU) towar4t Q^fi' 
liord Jesus Christ; testifying both< U> tbe Jewa aodir 
Greeks,'' &c. 

I ebsM explain the wordi» a little, aadi than &Jb 
upon the observations which I intend* to speak to^ 
because I design this only a^ a prefaoe to soQMi 
larger discourses of faith and nepentoiiee. 

Voi» explicaiion. '^ Testifying,'' theword is iu»f$af^ 
Tvpofi&HKf which signifies to testify, to prove a thwg; 
by testimony ; so it is used, (Heb. ik 6.)- *^ Bmt 0D^. 
IB a certain place testifieth^ saying/' la heajtboQ; 
writers the word is often used m a law sense^ fop 
ooBtestiDg by law, and pleading in a cause ; imd 
from hence it signifiea earnestly to coBtend or peih 
snade by ai^uoients and tfareatenings^ In tlie um^ 
oftheLXX. it signifies to protest, to convince, tOr 
pressi earnestly, to persuade. It is used most fre**. 
^Qently^ by St. Luke in a very intense signification!; 
and is sometimes joined with exhorting, which, ift am 
earnest persuading to a thing, (Acts ii^ 40.) '^ And 
with many other w^rds did be testify a^ wboK^^ 



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249 

MiyJDg, SaM youfsel]v«» from thisteHtfojnwcl graene^ 
tion ;" and with preaching, (Acts viii. 26») " Aodt 
wbe» they had tedtiied and preached the word of 
the Lord ;'' and so (Acta xviii^ 5.) '^ Being pressed 
IB spirit, he^ testified! to the Jews that Jesus was tfaer 
€hri#t/' '' Being pressed- iq spirit" signifies iotentioui 
and vehetoency io^ testifying to them, that he did^ 
vehemently endeavour to convince them ; it seeoiSt 
to> botequivalent to the expression^ (ver^ 28;) where 
it is said, '' Apollos did mightily convince the Jews 
that Jesus was the Christ ;" that is, did use sudk 
persuasions and arguments as* wiere sufficient to 
con?ince; and to mention ao more, (Actsxxviii. 23.^ 
^* He expounded and testified the kingdom oC God^ 
persuading them< concerning Jesus."* 

St Paul, in his Epistle to Timothy, useth this 
word in a most vehement sense, for giving a saletB» 
charge, (I Tim. v. 21.) "I charge thee before God^ 
and the Lord Jesus Christ;" the word is Sco^iofrvpo- 
fjuu ; and so (2 Tim. ii. 14.) '^ Changing them before 
the Lord, that they strive not about words ;** and 
so (2Tiai.iv. I.) '^ I charge thee befora God, and the 
Lord Jesns Christ f and here in the text the wovd , 
seems to.be of a vety high and intense signification^ 
because •£ the circumstances mentioned before and 
after ; he tells us before, that he taught tbem ^ afr 
all seasons,'' (ver. 18.) '^ publicly, and firom house to 
house,'' (ver. 20.) And afterwards, at the^lst verse, 
tWat ^ he warned them day and oi^t with teaos^** 
So that ^' testifying to the Jews repentance and 
faith," must signify his preissing and persuading of 
them with the greatest vehemeocy to turn from 
their sins, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ ; 
hie charging on them tliese things as their duty, hia 
pleading with them the necessity of faith and re»- 



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244 

pentance, and earnestly endeavouring , to convincr 
them thereof. 

^* Repentance toward God, and faith toward our 
Lord Jesus Christ:" what is the reason of this ap^ 
propriation of repentance and faith, the one as pro- 
perly respecting God, and the other our Lord Jesus 
Christ? I answer: Repentance doth properly re- 
spect God, because he is the party offended, and 
to whom we are to be reconciled ; the faith of the 
gospel doth properly refer to the Lord Jesus Christ, 
as the chief and principal object of it ; so that by 
** testifying to them repentance toward God," &c. 
we are to understand that the apostle did earnestly 
press and persuade them to repent of their sins, 
whereby they had offended God, and to believe on* 
the Lord Jesus Christ as the Messias, the person that 
was ordained of God, and sent to be the Saviour of 
the world. 

From the words thus explained, this is the obser* 
Yation that doth naturally arise. 

That repentance and faith are the sum and sub^ 
stance of the. gospel ; and that miuisters ought with 
all earnestness and vehemency to press people to 
repent and believe, to charge them with these as 
their duty, and by all means to endeavour to con- 
vince them of the necessity of them. 

In the handling of this I shall do these two things: 

First, Shew you what is included in repjsntance 
and faith, that you may see that they are the sum of 
the gospel. And, 

Secondly, Shew you the necessity of them. 
. First, What is included in these. 

I. Repentance : tins properly signifies a change 
of mind, a conviction that we have done amiss, so 
Iks to be truly sorry for what we have done, and 



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245 

heartily to wish thut we had not done it. To i^ 
pent, is to alter onr mind, to have other apprehen^ 
sions of things than we had, to look upon that now 
as evil which we did not before ; from whence fol- 
lows sorrow for what we have done, and a resolu- 
tion of mind for the future not to do again that 
which appears now io us to be so evil, that we are 
iashamed of it, and troubled for it, and wish we 
had never done \L So that repentance implies a 
conviction that we have done something that is evil 
and sinful, contrary to the law we are under, and 
those obligations of duty and gratitude that lie 
upon us, whereby God is highly provoked and in- 
x^ensed against us, and we in danger of his wrath, 
and the sad effects of his displeasure ; upon which 
we are troubled, and grieved, and ashamed for 
what we have done, and wish we had been wiser, 
and had done otherwise : hereupon we reisolve never 
to do any thing that is sinful, that is contrary to 
our duty and obligations to God, and by which we 
may provoke him against us. These two things 
are contained in a true repentance, a deep sense of, 
and sorrow for, the evils that are past, and the sins 
we have committed ; and a firm purpose and reso- 
lution of obedience for the future, of abstaining 
from all sin, and doing whatever is our duty : the 
true effect of which resolution, is the breaking off 
the practice of sfn, and the course of a wicked life, 
and a constant course of obedience. 

11. Faith in Christ is an effectual believing the re^ 
velation of the gospel, the history and the doctrine 
of it : the history of it— that there was such a person 
.as Jesus Christ ; that be was the true Messias, pro- 
phesied of and promised in the Old Testament; that 
he was born, and lived, and preached, and wrought 



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the nftracles that are recorded; that he was crucified 
and rose again, and ascend^ into heaven i; thai he 
was the Son of God, and sent by him into the worlds 
by his doctrine to instruct, and by 4he example oS 
his life to go before us in the way to happiness, and 
by the merit and satisfaction of his death and suffer- 
iqgs, to appease and reconcile God to us, and to 
purchase for us the pardon of our sins and eternal 
life, qpon the conditions of faith, and repentance, 
and sincere obedience ; and that to enable us to the 
performance of these conditions, he promised and 
afterward sent his (Holy Spirit to accompany the 
preaching of his gospel, and to assist all Christians 
to the doing of that which God requires of them : 
this IS the history of the gospel. 

Now the doctrine of it contains the precepts, and 
promises, and threatenings of it, and faith in Christ 
includes a firm belief of all these ; of the precepts of 
the gospel as the matter of our duty, and the rule 
4)f our life: and of the promises and threatenings of 
Ihe gospel, as arguments to our duty, to encourage 
•or obedience, and deter us from sin. So that he 
that believes the Lord Jesus, believes him to be the 
^reat guide and teacher sent from God, to bring and 
conduct men to eternal happiness, and that therefore 
"We ought to hearken to him and follow him ; this 
is to believe his prophetical office. He believes that 
be is the author of salvation, and hath purchased 
for as forgiveness of sins, ransom from heil, and 
eferoal life and blessedness upon the conditions be- 
foren^ntioned, and therefore that we ought to rely 
«ipon him only for salvation, to own him for oar 
Saviour, and to beg of him his Holy Spirit, which 
be hath promised to us, to enable us to perform tbe 
conditions required on our part : this is to believoe 



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U7 

4its ptlestly oflce. And, lastly, he believefi that the 
,pret€ipt8 of the. gospel, being delivered to us by the 
S&n of God, ought to have the authority of laws 
^pon lis, and that vre are bound to be obedient to 
4hem ; and for our encouragement, if we be so, that 
thbre is a glorious and eternal reward promised to 
•uiB ; ahd for our terror, if we be not, there are terri- 
ble and eternal punishments threatened to us; to 
which rewards, the Lord Jesus Christ, at the day 
of jtidgment, will sentence men, as the great Judge 
of the world : and this is to believe the kingly office 
of Christ. And this is the sum of that which is meant 
by '* faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ,'' which the 
apostle saith was one subject of his preaching. 

And the.proper and genuine effect of this faith, is 
•to live as we believe, to conform our lives (o the 
dodtrioe, to the truth whereof we assent. Hence it 
is that true Christians, that is, those who fashioned 
their lives according to the gospel, are called be- 
lievers ; and the whole of Christianity is many times 
contained in this word believing^ which is the great 
principle of a Christian life. As in the Old Testa- 
ment all religion is expressed by *' the fear of God ;** 
•o in the New, by '' iaith in Christ." 

Abd nowyou see what is included in repentance 
lAiid faith, you may easily judge, whether these be 
BOt the^am of the gospel, that men should forsake 
their sins and turn to' God, and believe in the reve- 
latioo of the gospel concerning Jesus Christ ; that is, 
heartily entertain and submit to it. What did Christ 
pfeach to the Jews, but that they should repent af 
their sios, and believe on him as the Messias? And 
"what did the apostles preach, but to the same pur- 
ipose ? When St Peter preached to the Jews, (Acts 
it) the effect of the sermon and the scope of it vf^m 



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U8 

to persuade them ** to repent and be baptized in tbe 
name of Jesus/' that is, to profess their belief in him, 
(ver. .^8.) And so (Acts iii. 19.) this is the conclu- 
sion of his discourse, " Repent therefore and be con- 
verted ;" and then he propounded Christ to them as 
the object of their faith, being the great prophet 
that' M^as prophesied of by Moses, who should *^ be 
raised up among them," (ver. 22.) So, likewise, St. 
Paul, when he preached to the Jews and gentiles, 
these were his great subjects, (Acts xvii. 30.) This 
is the conclusion of his sermon to the Athenians, to 
persuade them to repent by the consideration of a 
future judgment, and to persuade them to belieireon 
the Lord Jesus Christ, who was to be the judge 
of the world, from the miracle of his resurrection : 
** But now he commands all men every where to 
repent, because he hath appointed a day, &c. 
whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in 
that he hath raised him from the dead.'* So that 
you see that these are the great doctrines of the gos- 
pel, and were the sum of the apostles' preaching ; 
all their sermons were persuasives to these two 
duties of repentance and faith. 

Secondly, For the necessity of these doctrines. 
They are necessary for the escaping of eternal mi- 
sery, and attaining of everlasting happiness. And 
this will appear, by considering the nature of them, 
and the relation they have to both tliese. 

For the avoiding of eternal punishment, it is neces- 
sary that guilt should be removed, which is an ob- 
ligation to punishment, and that cannot be but by 
pardon : and sure we cannot imagine that God will 
ever pardon us without repentance : he will never 
remit to us the punishment of sin, so long as we tell 
bim we are not at all troubled for what we have 



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fl4d 

done^ and we are of the same mind aiSl^ and ^^ da 
the same again; and till we repedt,. we tell God 
thiS) and we may be sure God will not east away 
bis pardons upon those that despise them ; so tbi^ 
repentance is necessary to the escaping of helK 
. And faith. in Christ is necessary to it; for if thitl 
be the method of God^s grace, not to pardon sia 
Without satisfaction, and Jesus Christ hath made 
satisfaction for sin by the merit of his sufierings ; 
and if it be necessary that we should believe thvSf 
that the benefit hereof may redound to us ; then 
faith in Christ is necessary to the obtaining of the 
pardon of sin, by .which the guilt of sin is removed ; 
that is, our obligation to eternal punishment 

And then for attaining salvation* Christ having 
in the gospel revealed to us the way and means to 
eternal happiness, it is necessary that we should 
believe this revelation of the gospel by Jesus Christy 
in order to this end. So that you see the necessity 
of faith and repentance: because without these we 
can neither escape misery, nor attain to happiness. 

I should now come to draw some inferences from 
this discourse, but I will first give satisfaction to a 
query or two, to which this discourse seems to have 
given occasion. 

1st Query. — You will say, why do I call repentance 
a doctrine of the gospel ? It is a doctrine of nature. 
Natural religion tells us, that when we have offended 
God we ought to be sorry for it, and resolve to 
amend and reform. 

Answer «— I donottnake the doctrine of repentance 
proper to the gospel, as if it had not been revealed 
to the world before; but because it is a dofstrine 
which ihe gospel very much presseth and persuadetb 
men to, and because the great motives and enforce- 

VOL. VII. » , 



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J56 

tnents <^ ft are peculiar to the gospel. So tliat thrf 
ddctrtne of repentance, considered with those powers 
fill reason^ and arguments to it which the gospel 
fiimisheth as withal, is in this sense proper to the 
gospel, and not known to the world before. 

There are two motives and enforcements' to re- 
pentance which tbe gospel furnisheth us with. 

1. Assurance of pardon and remission of sins in 
case of repentance, which is a great encouragement 
to repentance^ and which, before the gospel, the 
world had never any firm and clear assurance of. 

2. Assurance of eternal rewards and punishments 
after this life, which is a strong argument to per* 
suade men to change their lives, that they may avoid 
the misery that is threatened to impenitent sinners, 
and be qualified for the happiness which it promiseth 
to repentance and obedience. And this, the apostlcf 
tells us in the forementioned place (Acts xvii. 30,31.) 
is that which doth, as it were, make repentance to 
be a new doctrine that did come with the gospet 
into the world, because it was never before enforced 
with this powerful argument ; ** The times of that 
ignorance God winked at; but now he calls upon all 
men every where to repent ; because,** &c. When 
the world was in ignorance, and had not such assur- 
ance of a future state, of eternal rewards and pu- 
nishments after this life, the arguments to repentance 
were weak and feeble in comparison to what they 
iiOw are ; the necessity of this duty was not go evi- 
dent. But how God hath assured us of a future 
judgment, now exhortations to repentance have a 
commanding power and influence upon men: so 
that repentance, both as it is that which is very 
much pressed and inculcated in the gospel, and a» 
it hath its chief motives and enforcements from the 



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251 

. gospel, may be said io be one of the great doctrioet 
of the gospel. 

Query 2.— Whetherthepreachingof faitbin Christ, 
among those who are already Christians, be at all 
necessary? Because it seems tery improper to press 
those to believe in Christ, who are already per^ 
suaded that he is the Messias, and do entertain the 
history and doctrine of the gospel. 

Answer. — The faith which the apostle faeremean^, 
and which be would persuade men to, is an effectual 
belief of the gospel ; such a faith as hath real effects 
upon men, and makes them to live as they believe ; 
such a faith as persuades them of the need of these 
blessings that the gospel offers, and makes them to 
desire to be partakers of them, and in order thereto 
to be willing to submit to those terms and con- 
ditions of holiness and obedience which the gospel 
requires. This is the faith we would persuade men 
to, and there is nothing more necessary to be pressed 
upon the greatest part of Christians than (his ; for 
how few are there among those who profess to be- 
lieve the gospel, who believe it in this effectual man- 
ner, so as to conform themselves to it ? The faith 
which most Christians pretend to, is merely negative; 
they do not disbelieve the gospel, they do not con- 
sider it, nor trouble themselves about it ; they do 
not care, nor are concerned whether it be true or 
not ; but they have not a positive belief of it, they 
are not possessed with a firm persuasion of the truth 
of those matters which are contained in it ; if they 
were, such a persuasion would produce real and 
positive effects. Every man naturally desires hap- 
piness^ and it is impossible that any man that is pos^ 
sessed with this belief, that, in order to happiness, 
it is necessary for him to do such and such things; 

s 2 



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Mnd that if tie omit or neglect tbem, he is UDavoicU 
ably miserable, that he sboald not do them. Meiy 
say they believe this or that, but you may see ia 
their Ijves what it is they believe. So that the 
preaching of this faith in Christ, which is the only- 
true faith, is still necessary. 

I. Inference. — If repentance towards God, and 
faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, be the sum and sub- 
stance of the gospel, then from hence we may infer 
the excellency of the Christian religion, which in^ 
sists only upon those things which do tend to our 
perfection and our happiness. Repentance tends 
to our recovery, and the bringing of us back as near 
as may be to innocence. Primus innoeentiie gradus 
est turn peccasse •* secundus^ pcenitentia : and then faith 
in the Lord Jesus Christ, though it be very compre- 
hensive, and contains many things in it, yet nothing 
but what is eminently for our advantage, and doth 
Tery much conduce to our happiness. The histo-' 
rical part of the gospel acquaints us with the person 
and actions of our Saviour, which conduceth very 
much to our understanding of the author and means 
of our salvation. The doctrinal part of the gospel 
contains what God requires on our part, and the 
encouragements and argtiments to our duty, from 
the consideration of the recompence and rewards of 
the next life. The precepts of Christ's doctrine are 
such as tend exceedingly to the perfection of our 
nature, being all founded in reason, in the nature of 
God, and of a reasonable creature ; I except only 
those positive institutions of the Christian rel^on, 
the two sacraments, which are not burthenspme, 
and are of excellent use. This is the first. 

II. We may learn from hence what is to be the 
sum and end of oui* preaching, to bring men to re- 



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peotance and a firm belief of the gospel : but theii 
it is to be considered, that we preach repentance, so 
often as we preach^ either against sin in general, or. 
any particular sin or vice ; and so often as we per- 
£Riade to holiness in general, or to the performance 
of any particular duty of religion, or to the exercise 
of any particular grace; for repentance includes 
the forsaking of sin, and a sincere resolution and 
endeavour of reforniation and obedience. And we 
preach repentance^ so often as we insist upon €uch 
considerations and arguments, as may be powerful 
to deter men from sin, and to engage them to holi- 
ness. And we preach faith towards our Lord Jesus 
Christ, so often as we declare the grounds of the 
Christian religion, and insist upon such arguments 
as tend to make it credible, and are proper to con- 
vince ipen of the truth and reasonableness of it; so 
often a3 we explain the mystery of Christ's incar- 
nation, the history of his life, death, resurrection, 
ascension, and intercession, and the proper ends 
and use of these ; so often as we open the method 
^ God*8 grace for the salvation of sinners, the na- 
ture of the covenant between God and us, and the 
conditions of it, and the way how a sinner is justified 
and hath his sins pardoned, the nature and Dec6ssi<y 
of regeneration and sanctification ; so often as we 
explain the precepts of the gospel^ and the promises 
and threateuiogs pf it, and endeavour to convince 
men of the equity of Christ's eommands^ and to as-^ 
sure them of the certainty of the eternal happiness 
which the gospel promises to- them that obey it, and 
of the eternal misery wfaicb the gospel threatens to 
those that are disobedient; ail this is preaching 
faith in our Lord Jesus Christ 
llh This may correct the irregular humour and 



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itch itt many people, ^ho are not contented with 
this plain and wholepome food, but must be gratified 
^ith sublime notions and unintelligible mysteries, 
with pleasant passages of wit, and artificial strains 
of rhetoric, with nice and unprofitable disputes, with 
bold interpretations of dark prophecies, and pe- 
remptory determinations of what will happen next 
year, and a punctual stating of the time when anti- 
christ shall be thrown down, and Babylon shall fall, 
and who shall be employed in this work. Or, if 
their humour lies another way, you must apply your- 
self to it, by making sharp reflections upon matters 
in present controversy and debate ; you must dip 
your style in gall and vinegar, and be all satire and 
invective against those that diflfer froni you, and 
teach people to hate one another, and to fall to* 
gether by the ears ; and this men call gospel preach^ 
ing, and speaking of seasonable truths. 

Surely St. Paul was a gospel preacher, and such 
an one as may be a pattern to all others, ^nd yet h% 
did none of these ; he preached what men might 
understand, and what they ought to believe and 
practise, in a plain, and unaffected^ and convincing 
manner ; he taught such things as made for peace» 
and whereby he might edify and build up men m 
their holy faith. The doctrines that he preached 
will never be unseasonable, that men. should leave 
their sins, and believe the gospel, and live ac*- 
cordingly. 

And if men must needs be gratified with disputes 
and controversies, there are these great controver* 
stes between God and the sinner to be stated and 
determined ; whether this be religion, to follow our 
own lusts and inclinations, or to endeavour to be 
like God, and to be conformed to himi in goodness 



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mnd mercy, and righteousoefis^ and truth,, and faitb- 
fulness ? Whether Jesus Christ be not the Messias 
^nd Saviour of the world ? Whether faith and re* 
pentance and sincere obedience be not the terms of 
salvation, and the necessary conditions of happi- 
ness? Whether there shall be a future judgment, 
when all men shall be sentenced according to their 
works ? Whether there be a heaven and |iell ? 
Whether good men shall be eternally and unspeak- 
ably happy, and wicked men extremely wd ever^ 
lastingly miserable ? These are the great controver- 
sies of religion, upon which we are to dispute on 
God's behalf against sinners. God asserts, and sin- 
ners deny these things, not in words, but, which is 
more emphatical and significant, in their lives and 
actions. These are practical controv^sies of faith, 
and it concerns every man to be resolved and de* 
termined about them, that he may frame his Ufe ac«- 
cordingly. 

And so for repentance ; God saya, repeotaace ie 
a forsaking of sin, and a thorough change and 
amendment of life \ the sinner says, that it is only a 
formal confession, and a slight asking of God forw 
giveoess : God calls upon us speedily and forthwith 
(0 repent j the sinner saith, it is time enough, and at 
may safely be deferred to sickness or death : these 
are important controversies, and matters of nwrneo^ 
But men do not affect common truths; whereas 
these are most necessary : and, indeed, whfitever is 
generally useful and beneficial, ought to be common, 
and not to be the less valued, but the more esteemed 
for being so* 

And as these doctrines of faith and jrepeii^iice 
are never unseasonable, so are they more peculiarly 
jprojpf^r wheti we celebrate the holy saaameni 



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which Was institated foi^ a solemii and standing 
memorial of the Christiim religion, and is one of the 
most powerful arguments and persuasives to re^ 
pentance and a good life. 

The faith of the gospel doth more particularly 
respect the death of Christ, and therefore it is called 
•* faith in his Wood," because that is more especially 
the object of our faith ; the blood of Christ, as it 
was a seal of the truth of his doctrine, so it is als5 
a. confirmation of all the blessings and benefits of 
the new covenant. 

And it is one of the greatest arguments in the 
world to repentance. In the blood of Chriist we 
may see our own guilt, and in the dreadful suffer- 
ings of the Son of God, the just desert of our sins ; 
for ** he hath borne our griefs^ and carried our sor- 
rows J be was wounded for our transgressions, and 
bruised for our iniquities :" therefore, the comme- 
moration of his sufiTerings should call our sins to 
remembrance, the representation of his body broken 
should melt our hearts ; and so often as we remem- 
l>erthat his blood was shed for us, our eyes should 
^*run down with rivers of tears;" so often as we 
** look upon him whom we have pierced, we should 
mourn over him." When the Son of God suflfered, 
♦* the rocks were rent in sunder;" and shall not the 
-consideration of those sufferings be effectual to 
break the most stony and obdurate hpart? 

What can be more proper when we come to this 
sacrament, than the renev^ing of our repentance! 
When we partake of this passpv^r, wp should " eat 
it with bitter herbs." The most solemn expression^ 
of our repentance fell short pf those snfferinga 
which our blessed Saviour underwent for our sins. 
If " otir h^ad wer^ waters, and our eyes fouqtc^na 



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of teara^** we could never sufficiently lament the 
cursed effects and consequences of those provoca- 
tions which were so fatal to the Son of God. 

And that our repentance may be real, it must be 
accompanied with the resolution of a better life ; 
for if we return to our sins again, ^* we trample un- 
der foot the Son of God, and profane the blood of 
the coTenant,"* and out of *^ the cup of salvatfon we 
drink our own damnation," and turn that which 
should savei us into an instrument and seal of oor 
pwn ruin. 



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SERMON CUX. 

^Pr^m^hed on Ash Wedoesdaj.] 

or CONFESSING AND FORSAKING SIN, IN ORDER 
TO PARDON. 

Mb that t&vtreth his inMsknU not prosper: but wk&w 
confesseth and forsaketh them shall haoemerey. 
— Prov. xxviii. 13. 

Since we are all siDoers, and liable to the justice 
of God, it is a matter of great moment to our com- 
fort and happiness, to be rightly informed, by what 
means, and upon what terms, we may be reconciled 
tQ God, and find mercy with him. And to this pur- 
pose thq text gives us this advice and direction: 
^* Whoso confesseth and forsaketh his sins shall 
h^ve mercy .'' 

In which words there is a great blessing and be- 
Defit declared and promised to sinners, upon certain 
conditions. The blessing and i>enefit promised is 
the mercy and favour of God, which compre- 
hends all the happy effects of God's mercy and 
goodness to sinners : and the conditions upon 
which this blessing is promiseid are two—confession 
of our sins, and forsaking of them ; and these two 
contain in them the whole nature of that great and 
Decessacy duty of repentance, without which a sin- 
ner can have no reasonable hopes of the mercy of 
God. 

I. Here is a blessing or benefit promised, which 
is the mercy and favour of God : and this» ia the^ 



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full extent of it, comprehends all the effects of the 
mercy and goodness of God to sinners, and doth 
primarily import the pardon and forgiveness of oui 
sins. And this, probably, Solomon did chiefly in* 
tend in this expression ; for so the mercy of God 
doth most frequently signify in the Old Testament ; 
viz. the forgiveness of our sins. And thus the pro- 
phet explains it : (Isa. Iv. 7.) " Let the wicked for- 
sake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts ; 
and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have 
mercy; and to our God, for he will abundantly par- 
don." 

But DOW, since the clear revelation of the gospel^ 
the mercy of Gpd doth not only extend to the par- 
don of sin, but to power against it ; because this 
also is an effect of God's free gr;:ce and mercy to 
sinners, to enable them, by the grace of his Holy 
Spirit, to master and mortify their lusts, and to per* 
severe in goodness to the end. 

And it comprehends also oqr Qnal pardon and 
absolution at the great day» together with the glo- 
rious reward of eternal life, which the apostle ex- 
presseth, by *^ finding mercy with the Lord in that 
day." And this likewise is promised to repentance : 
(Acts iii. 19.) " Repent ye, therefore, and be con* 
verted, that your sips may be blotted out, wheatbe 
times of refreshing shall come from the presence of 
the Lord, and he shall send Jesus Christ, who befwe 
was preached uoto you ;** that is, that when Jesua 
Christ, who is now preached unto you, shall come» 
you may receive thfB finad aeotence of absolution and 
forgiveness. 

And thus much shall suffice to have been spoken 
of the blessing and benefit here promised— the 
laercy of God ; which ^comprehends all the blessed 



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260 

effects of the Divine grace and goodness to sinners, 
the present pardon of sin, and power to mortify sin, 
and to persevere in a good course, and our final ab- 
solution by the sentence of the great day, together 
with the merciful and glorious reward of eternal 
life. 

il. We will consider, in the next place, the con- 
ditions upon which this blessing is promised ; and 
they are two, the confessing and forsaking of our 
sins : ** Whoso confesseth and forsaketh his sin, 
shall have mercy :" and these two do contain and 
constitute the whole nature of repentance, without 
which a sinner can have no reasonable hopes to 
find mercy with God. I begin with the 

First, The confession of our sins ; by which is 
meant a penitent' acknowledgment of our faults to 
God ; to God, I say, because the confession of our 
sins to men is not, generally speaking, a condition 
of the forgiveness of them, but only in some particu- 
lar cases, when our sins against God are accom- 
panied and complicated with scandal and injury 
to men. In other cases, the confession of our sins to 
men is not necessary to the pardon of them, as I 
shall more fully shew in the progress of this dis- 
course. 

All the difficulty in this matter is, that the con- 
fession ef our sins is opposed to the covering and 
concealing of them: "He that covereth his sin 
6hall not prosper: but whoso confesseth them shall 
have mercy." But no man can hope to hide his sin 
from God, atid therefore confession of them to God 
cannot be here meant. But this objection, if it be 
of any force, quite excludeth confession to God, as 
no part of Solomon's meaning ; when yet confession 
of our sins to God is granted on all bands to be » 



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261 

necessary condhion of the foi^iveoess of ibeim 
And to take away the whole ground of this objec* 
tion; men are said in Scripture/when they do not 
confess their sins and repent of them, to hide and 
conceal them from God : not to acknowledge them, 
is as if a man went about to cover them. And thus 
David oppose,th confession of sins to God, to the 
hiding of them : (Psal. xxxii« 5.) ^* I acknowledged 
my sin unto thee^ and mine iniquity have I not hid : 
I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the 
Lord." So that this is no reason why the text 
should not be understood of the confessing of our 
sins to God. 

But because the necessity of confessing our sins 
to men (that is, to the priest), in order to the for- 
giveness of tbeni, is a great point of difference be- 
tween us and the church of Rome, it being by them 
esteemed a necessary article of faith, but by us, so 
far from being necessary to be believed, that we do 
not believe it to be true; therefore, for the clear 
stating of this matter, I shall briefly inquire into 
these two things : « . - 

L Whether confession of our sins to the priest, 
as taught and practised in the church of Rome, be 
necessary to the forgiveness of them. 

II. How far the disclosing and revealing of our 
sins to the ministers of God is convenient upon 
other accounts, and for other purposes of religion. 

I. Whether confession of our sins to the priest^ 
and the manner in which it is taught and practised 
in the church of Rome, be necessary to the forgive^f 
ness of them. What manner of confession this is, 
the council of Trent hath mo6t precisely determined ; 
viz. '' Secret confession to the priest alone of all and 
every mortal sin, >which, upon the moat diligent 



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scardi and exMoination of our conscieoces, we caa 
remember ourselves to be guilty of since our bap- 
tism ; together with all the circumstances of those 
mus, which may change the nature of them ; because 
without the perfect knowledge of these, the priest 
cannot make a judgment of the nature and quality 
of men's sins, nor impose fitting penance for them.'' 
This is the confession of sins required in the church 
of Rome, which the same council of Trent, without 
any real ground from Scripture or ecclesiastical anr 
tiquity, doth most confidently affirm, " to have 
been instituted by our Lord, and by the law of God 
to be necessary to salvation, and to have be^i al- 
ways practised in the catholic church/' 

I shall, as, briefly as I can, examine both these 
pretences, of the Divine institution, and constant 
practice of this kind of confession. 

First, For the Divine institution of it, they mainly 
rely upon three texts ; in the first of which there is 
no mention at all of confession, much less of a par- 
ticular confession of all our sins, with the circum- 
stances of them ; in the other two there is no men- 
tion of confession to the priest : and yet all this 
ought clearly to appear in these texts, before they 
can ground a Divine institution upon them ; for a Di- 
vine institution is uot to be founded upon obscure 
consequences, but upon plain words. 

The first text, and the only one upon which the 
council of Trent grounds the necessity of confes- 
sion, is John XX. 23. " Whose soever sins ye re- 
mit> they are remitted ; and whose soever sins ye re- 
tain, they are retained." It is a sign they were at a 
great loss for a text to prove it, when they are glad 
to bring one that bath not one word in it concerning 
confession, nor the least intimation of the necessity 
of it. 



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963 

# 

But letmsee bow they mttttflge it to their pilr^ 
pose. The'apMtles and their saccemors (ssitti 
Bell^rmine) by this power of remitting and retaining 
sins, are constituted Judges of the case of penitents; 
but they cannot judge without hearing the cause ; 
and this infers particular confession of sins to the 
priest, from whence he conclades it necessary to 
the forgiveness of sins. 

But do not the nriniaters of the gospel exercise this 
power of remitting sins in baptism ? And yet parti* 
cular confession of all sins to the priest is not re* 
quired, no not in the church of Rome, in the baptism 
of adult persons. And therefore, accordti^ to them, 
particular confession of sin to the priest is not ne- 
cessary to his exercising the power of remitting sins^ 
|tnd consequently the necessity of confession cannot 
be concluded from this text. 

And to shew how they are puzzled in this mat- 
ter, Vasquez^ by a strange device, concludes the ne- 
cessity of confession from the power of retaining 
sins ; for (says he) if the priest have a power of re* 
taining sins, thatis, of denying pardon and absoTu- 
tion to the penitent, then he may impose confession 
as a condition of forgiveness, and not absolve the 
penitent upon other terms. But supposing the 
priest to have this unreasonable power, this make^ 
confession no otherwise necessary by Divine institu- 
tion, than going to Jerusalem or China is, in order 
to the forgiveness of our sins, or submitting to any 
other foolish condition that the priest thinks fit to 
require: for according to this way of reasoning, this 
power of retaining sins, makes every foolish thing 
that the priest shall impose upon the penitent, to be 
necessary by Divine command and institution. 

But the truth is, this power of remitting and re- 



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264 

taiiHDg snaijfli exercised by the mimstew of the go** 
pell in the admiDistration of the sacraments, and the 
preaching of the gospel, which is called the word 
of reconciliation, the ministry whereof is committed 
to them. And thus the ancient fathers understood 
it ; and as a great divine told them in the council of 
Trent, it was, perhaps, never expounded by any one 
father concerning the business of confession. 

The second text they all^e to this purpose is, 
(> John i. 9.) ^' If we confess our sins, he is faithful 
and just to forgive us our sins.'' Here, indeed, is 
confession ; but general, not particular, as appears 
by the opposition, '^ If we say that we have no sin, 
we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us : but 
if we confess our sins;'' that is, if we acknowledge 
ourselves to have been sinners. And then there is 
not a word of confessing to the priest; the confession 
here meant is plainly to God, because it follows, 
** he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins ;" that 
is, God, who is necessarily understood in the former 
part of the sentence, as if it had run thus, *^ If we 
confess our sins to God, he is faithful and just to 
forgive us our sins." 

The third text is, (Jam. v. 16.) " Confess your 
faults one to another, and pray one for another.'^ 
And here again there is only mention of confession, 
but not a word of the priest ; and for another rea* 
son, if I had been to advise them, they should not 
have pressed this text for their service in this cause^ 
because it does tliem as much hurt as good ; for it 
is certain, the duty of confession here enjoined is re- 
ciprocal and mutual, ** Confess your sins one to ano^ 
ther z" so that if, by virtue of this text, the people 
are bound to confess their sins to the priest, the 
priest is hereby as much obliged to confess his sins 



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265 

t» ite people ; wbiofa^ I dareefnj^ fe. moie tiuM fliejt; 
have a tntmi to prore frooi lliia lot.. The pif ia 
meaniiig wbeMof is thcmv tlwilaf ChvisUaiis alMQki 
be ready to peHbrmall motiial offleea of ckarifc}^ ub 
to assist and coGofort one miother by their coutiael 
and prayers* And tbei^efore the apofde adriseth 
ChHetiaa» when they areifiek, if at theeaine time 
they be under any spiritoai tronble, by reason of the 
gailt of any sin lying upon t(ieir consciences^ to lay 
open their caee to one anotbc^, tbat so they may have 
the help of one another's advice and prayars^ 
^ Confess your faults one to another/ and pray one 
for another, that ye amy be healed/' both of youv 
bodily iind spiritual distemper. Not (hat the priest 
or miaister is here excluded i fit James had spoken 
ef that papticttlar before, that ivhen ^' any was sick/! 
bto should '* MM|d for the elders of tbcf chorch/' that 
he iqigbt, in the first place, hare the benefit of jtheir 
e^unaei and prayers; and then, beoauee prirate 
Christians may also be uwfiU to one another in this 
kind, he adds, that they ehould alio lay open their 
condition and troublee ^ to one anothef ," that m 
they might hii^e the help of one another's advice and 
prayers ; and Very probably ^ll the conibasfon her^ 
meant of private Christians ^ to one another,'' is of 
the ofl^ces a^d injuries they may have been guilty 
ef one towatds another ; that they shopld be recon^ 
ctled upoatiiis oecasion, apd, as a teatimoay of their 
dMtrity, Bkonld- "^pray one for another ;" .^irbenaas 
Ikey are bonand '* to send for the elders of the 
cbardi," «nd they are ^^ to pray over them," ais an 
act, not only of eharity, bat of superiority, and by 
vtrt^ of tb^ir office in the church, a more .especial 
blessif^ being to be expected fro Ji their prajfers. . 
These three texts are the main argomtets (rem 

vox. VII. T 



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266 

Scriptare, wliich they» of the cbnrch of Rome, briog 
to prove their auricalar or secret confession to be of 
Divine institution; and woful proofs they are; 
which shews what miserable shifts they are reduced 
to, who resolve to maintain a bad cause. 

I proceed, in the second place, to discover the 
fitlsehood of their other pretences, that this kind of 
confession hath always been practised in the catho^ 
lie church : and not only so, but believed absolutely 
necessary to the remission of men's sins, and their 
eternal salvation. 

The truth of. the whole matter is this; public con- 
fession and penance for open aud scandalous crimes 
was in use, and with great strictness observed, in the 
first ages of Christianity; and there was then no ge- 
neral law, or custom, that exacted secret confession 
of sins to the priest, as a necessary part of repent- 
ance, and condition of forgiveness : afterward pub- 
lic penance was by degrees disused ; which plainly 
shews, that, in the opinion of the church, this disci* 
pline, how useful soever, was not of absolute neces- 
sity to restore men to the favour of. God. 

In place of this came in private confession to the 
priest, particularly appointed to this office, and 
called the penitentiary ; but, upon occasion of a scan- 
dal that happened, this also was abrogated by Nec- 
tarius, bishop of Constantinople ; which shews that 
neither was this necessary. And this act of Nee- 
tarius was justifiedby his successor St. Chrysostom, 
who does, over ajid over, most expressly teach, that 
confession of our sins to men is not necessary to the 
forgiveness of them, but that it is sufficient to. con- 
fess them to God alone ; so that St Cbrysostom 
does plainly stand condemned by the decrees of the 
council of Trent. 



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267 

And thus, for several ages, the matter rested, till 
the degeneracy of the church of Roniey^rowing to** 
wards it height, about the ninth and tenth centuries, 
some began to contend for the necessity of secret - 
confession; and this^in the year 1215, in the fourth 
council of Lateran, under Pope Innocent III. was 
decreed and established. 

And this is the first public law that was made in 
the Christian church concerning this matter, notr 
withstanding all the boasts of the council of Trent, 
about the antiquity of this institution and practice; 
for Gratian, who lived about fifty years before this 
council, tells us, that in his time several wise and re- 
ligious men were of the contrary opinion, and did not 
hold confession necessary by virtue of any Divine 
law. Afterwards, in the council of Florence, and 
especially in that of Trent, this decree of the council 
of Lateran was confirmed and enlarged in many parti* 
culars, of which I have already given some account. 

And whereas they pretend for themselves, the 
universal practice not only of the past but present 
church, we are able to shew from clear testimony of 
their own writers, that confession, as taught aud 
practised in the church of Rome, is no where else 
in use at this day, neither among the Abyssines, 
nor Indians of St. Thomas, nor the Nestorians^ nor 
the Armenians, nor the Jacobites, churches of great 
antiquity and vast extent And as for the Greek 
church, if we may believe Gratian, and the author 
of the gloss upon the canon law, the Greeks had 
anciently no tradition concerning the necessity of 
confession, nor do they at this d$iy ^ree with the 
Roman church in all points concerning it. 

So that, in shoi:t, there is no nation nor church 
throughout the whole' world, that bears the name of 

T2 



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268 

ClirisllaD^ tbi.Roniin cfaorteh only excepted^ that 
doth fully embrace Imd maintaih the whole dodtrind 
of the coudcil 6f Trent, concerahig confestidn ; and 
yet| acicordmg to th^lr ptinciples, tb^ whol^ ia of 
^qual necessity t6 be believed , as any part of it 
With what face, then, do they declare, that this 
manner of confession always was, and still is, ob^ 
terved in the catholic^ that is, in the whole Christian 
chnrch ? 

. I have not time to ^ye# the great and manifold 
iiycotiveniences and ftitschiefs of thia practice : how 
ittftbite a torture it. is ib tht consciences of men, by 
etitiYigling them in ^etidlesi^ doubts and Scruples; 
ind how great n dcaadal it is to the Christian pro- 
fession, in the lewd mat^agement of it by the prieita, 
is evident from the two bulls of Pope Pius IV. 
and Gregory XY. which mentioA things too sfaame^ 
fill to be declak*ed ; not to insist upon other horrible 
abn^^s 6f it to th^ vilest and wibkedest pnrpMes ; 
not so much to dircict the consciences of men, as to 
dii^e into their secl^efs, of whi^h tfa^e are so tkiady 
plaiii abd notorious ilistances, tbiatt they arb pa&t 
denial. 

The othef thing pretended ftit it is, that itistf 
gr^at restraint nptfn fU^n IVom skk. And very pro^ 
bdbly it is so to MrodesC and w^ll-dispos^d peftofis ; 
biit fexperiende sheWs how quite contrary an effect 
it hath npou others, wtio are the far greatesft part of 
mankind. Does tiot all the world see in the pdptsh 
countries, in the time of their carnival, jndt befoi^ 
Lent,, the anni^ei^ary seasori of confession, bow 
scandalous a liberty men take of doing ItfWd Mid 
wicked things; arid that fot* this very i^^on, be- 
cause their consciences are prtsently to be elided 
Hhi s^bur^d (as tbey <!;all :t) by confession atid abdo- 



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latioQ ? Aod they tberafow tal&e tke opppriUBity to 
gratify their lusts, and fill up the measuf e qC th^ 
iniquity at that time, because with one labour they 
can set their consciences rigfa^ an^ dear them of aU 
guilt And they Ipok upon this as a special piece 
of spiritual good hushandry, to quit their scores 
with God at once, that so they m^y Ijave no occa- 
sion to trouble him, nor the priest, nor theipsBlves 
again for a good labile after. So thai; coafeasioii, 
inatead of being a restraint from sin, gives gceat en* 
couragement to it, by deluding mmi into a vaiin hope 
of obtaining the ps^rdcm of their sine from tiiae to 
time, though they still cantihne in the practice of 
them ; by .which device, menus' sins are at<mce i«- 
mitted and retained ; thepraest remits them byab- 
solution, and the penitetH; ret^imi them, by ^oing on 
etill in the xtommissips of ifaem, in hopb of iibtaii^ 
|Dg a new ahsolntion as often as occasion shall r^ 
qoire. I proceed to the 

II* SefOi^i inquiry, naniely. How far :the dii|- 
dosiBg smd revealing 4kmw sins to the mimstevs of 
Ood may beconvenient^pon ojther accounts, and to 
•other purpose^ of ieligion ? To which 4be answer 
'»;y6ry plain and shprC; so for as is necessary,, either 
40 the direction, or the ease of men's consciences. 

Thene are mcmy cases wherein men, under the 
gailt aod trouble of their sins, can neither appease 
6liieir s^wn minds, nor suflU^iently direot themitelves, 
iwithout recourse to some pious and ptudent gdide; 
in these cases, men certainly do very well, and many 
times pi3^?c^nt a great deal of trouble and perplexity 
to themselves, by a timely discovery ^ their condi- 
tion to some faithful minister, in order to their diree- 
tmn and satisfoction, without which they shall tiever,, 
perhaps, beable to cljsar themselves of the obscurity 



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and entaoglenieDt of their own minds ; but, by smo- 
thering their trouble in their own breasts, shall pro- 
ceed from one degree of melancholy to another, till 
at last they be plunged either into destruction or 
despair ; whereas the discovery of their condition 
in time, would prove a present and effectual remedy* 
And to this purpose, a general confession is for the 
most part sufficient; and where there is occasion 
for a more particular discovery, there is no need of 
raking into the particular and foul circumstances 
of men's sins, to give that advice which is necessary 
for the cure and ease of the penitent ; a thing so 
far from being desirable, that it must needs be very 
grievous to every modest and good man. 

And thus far confession is not only allowed, but 
encouraged among protestants. In the Lutheran 
churches, Chemnitius tells us, that private general 
confession is in use and practice. And Calvin freely 
declares, that he is so far from being against peo- 
ple's repairing to their pastors to this purpose, that 
be earnestly wisheth it were every where observed 
before the receiving of the sacrament. And the 
same is the sense of our own church, laying no ne^ 
cessity upon men in this matter, but advising^ espe- 
cially before the sacrament, those who have any 
trouble upon their consciences, to repair to some 
discreet and faithful minister of God's word, for ad- 
vice and satisfaction. And thus all the good use 
which can be made of confession may be had in our 
church, without the ill effects and consequences of 
the Romish confession, and without laying a yoke 
upon the consciences of men which our Saviour 
never laid. 

, And now I have, as briefly and as plainly as I 
could, stated this controversy between us and the 



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271 

church of Rome* coDcerniiig the necessity' and cit« 
of secret coDfession to the ministers of God; as the 
proper guides and . directors of our cojisciences* 
But it is granted on all hands, that confession of our 
sins to God is necessary ; and there is no doubt but 
it is here intended in the text, viz. a penitent ac- 
knoivledgment of our sins; the nature whereof I 
shall briefly explain to you: 

And it must not only be a general confession that 
we are sinners, but there must be a particular aCr 
knowledgment of our sins to God, so far as^ upon a 
particular discussion and examination of our con- 
sciences, we can call them to remembrance ; esper 
cially our most heinous sins, which our conscience^ 
will not suffer us to forget, must be particularly ac- 
knowledged, with the several aggravations of them. 

And this confession must be accompanied with 
such a shame and sorrow for our sins, as produceth 
in us a sincere resolution to leave them, and to bo- 
take ourselves to a better course; These are th^ 
principal ingredients of a penitent confession; 

1. There must be a shame, without which there is 
no hope of amendment. Confession always sup- 
poseth conviction of a feult ; and he that is truly 
convinceid that he hath done amiss, cannot but be 
ashamed of what he hath done. And thus the pe- 
nitents in Scripture were wont to make confession 
of their sins to God : (Ezra ix. 6,) '' O my God, 
(says he) I am ashamed, and blush to lift up my 
face to thee, my God." So Jeremiah; (chap. iii. 
25.) '* We lie down in our shame, and our con- 
fusion covereth us ; for we have sinned against 
the Lord." And so, likewise, Daniel : (chap. ix. 
5.) '' We have sinned, and have committed ini- 
quity, and done wickedly ; unto us belongeth con- 
fusion of face.'' Aud thus our Saviour describes 



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iMf^ f^Mitenl behavtoar ^ tbe fuiblicafi^ ad atfaemeil 
^ \6ok up to that t^^ tthom he kmA ofbadteii; 
(lAik^ xvUi. 13.) '' H^ W{ytt1d not lift ^ jBc^ iQyoh 
M tiis ^y^s (6 heaveD; b«it smote upon hh brenst, 
Mtymg, Gdd be tii^rciM to me a filhitief*.*^ 

2. CodfeilsibB tAUBt be always aocompaniedl with 
greaC sorrow for oor sitiSi con&ridertng ^e great dis- 
honour vfe have brought to God, a:m] the danger 
JMo which we have brought oui-settes ; ^^ I wii( de- 
clare tuiae iniquity (says David), and i will be 
«orry f(W toy sin/' 

And thift sorrow tnust be proporttotiable to the 
tiegree of our sin. If we have been very wicked, 
<Mtd have Finned greatly against the Lord, and 
'^have lUuItlpNed our tvansgresstons," and continued 
kmg in ati evil coarse, have neglected God, and 
^' ftfr^ttl^n hitn days without number," the measure 
fof otfr soiti^w must bear some pi^oportion to the 
^^ree of our sins: if they have been as scarkt 
«nd crimson (as the prophet eitpresseth it)^ that is, 
of a deeper die thau ordinary, our sorrow must be 
^ deep as our gufll ; for it is not a i^ght trouble, 
tttid a fewteaiB, that will wash out auch staitts. 

Not tbtit tfears alfe absdlutely necessary, though 
they do *e*y well become, and ntfost commonly ac- 
t^ompany, a sincere repentance. Alt tempers aw 
not in this alike ; some t^annoft express their sorrow 
by tears, eVeb then when they are most inwardly 
and sensibly grieved. But tf we can easily shed tears 
upon other occasions, certainly " rivers of teal«^ 
ought to ^ Win down our eyes,** because we haw 
broketi God's laws^ the reasonable, and righteous, 
«nd good laws of so good a God, of so gracious 
a sovereign, of so mighty a beneAK^r, of the 
ftHinder of our being, and the perpetual patron and 
ptotector of our lives: but if we cannot commaB^ 



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373 

our tears, there imi^t, howei^r, be g^reat trouble and 
eotitritioii of splrtt, especially fyt gMat sins ; to be 
sure to that degree as to prodoee the 

S. Third property I oiention of a pemtent confes- 
sioQ ; namely, a sincere resolutioo to leave our sins, 
and betake ourselves to a better course'. He does not 
confess his fault, but stand ih it, who is not resolved 
to amend. True shame and soitow for our sins, 4s 
utterly inconsistent with any thought ^ returning 
to them, ft argues great obstinacy and impudence 
to confess a fault and oontitrae in it. Whenever vre 
make confession of our sins to God, ** $urely it is 
meet to say unto him, I will not offend any more ; 
that which I know not, teach thoo om ; and if I 
have dime iniquity, 1 will do tto more,'' 

This is die first part of repentahce mentioned in 
the text, the first condition of our ftnding mercy itiA 
God, the penitent aeknowledgineat ti our sins to 
him. I proceed to ihe 

Second condition required to majce«« capable 
of the mercy of God, which is the actual forsaking 
of our sins ; '* Whoso confesseth and forsaketh 
them^ shall haTe mercy." I shall not go about to 
explain what is meant by Ibrsaking sin ; it is that 
which every body can understand, but few will do; 
there lies all the difioutty : I shall only put )mki m 
mind, that forsaking of sin comprehends our re- 
tmn to our duty, that necessarily follows from it. 
In sins of commission, he that hath left any vice, 
does thereby become masfer <of the contrary virtue. 
Viirtns est vitiumjkgere; not to be drank, is 4o be 
sober; not to oppress, or defraud, or deal felsely, 
is to t>e just and honest: and for sins of omission, 
the forsaking of them is notliing else, but the doing 
df those duties which we omitted and ejected be* 



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274 

ioKi And therefore what Solomon here calls for- 
sakiugof sin, is elsewhere in Scripture more fully 
expressed, by '^ ceasing to do evil, and learning to 
do well/' (Isa. u 16.) By forsaking our sins, and 
turning to God : (Isa. Iv, 7.) " Let the wicked man 
forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his 
thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord.'' By 
turning from all our sins, and keeping all God's 
laws and statutes: (Ezek. xviii.21.) ** If the wicked 
will turn from all his sins which he hath committed, 
and keep all my statutes, and do that which is law- 
ful and right." 

And this is a most essential part of repentance, 
and a necessary condition of our finding mercy with 
God. That part of repentance which I have men- 
tioned and insisted upon before, the penitent ac- 
knowledgment of our sins to God, with shame and 
sorrow for them, and a firm purpose and resolution 
to leave them ; all this is but preparatory to the acr 
tual forsaking of them : that which perfects and 
completes our repentance, is to turn from our evil 
ways, and to break ofifour sins by righteousness. 

And these terms, of confessing and forsaking our 
sins, are reasonable in themselves, and honourable 
to God, and profitable to us ; and upon lower terms 
we have no reason to expect the mercy of God, nor, 
in truth, are we capable of it, either by the present 
forgiveness of our sins, or the final absolution of the 
great day, and the blessed reward -of eternal life. 
God peremptorily requires this change as a con- 
dition of our forgiveness and happiness; ^'Repent 
and be converted, that your sins may be blotted 
out," (Acts iii. 19.) '' If thou wilt enter into life, 
keep the commandments," (Matt. xix. 17.) '* With* 
out holiness no man shall see the Lord." And why 



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475 

should any man hope for the mercy of God utM)B 
other terms than those which he hath so plainly and 
peremptorily declared ? 

It is a mean and unworthy thought of God, io 
imagine that he will accept men to his favour and 
eternal life upon other terms than of better obedi- 
ence. Will any wise father or prince accept less 
from his children and subjects? , Will they be satis- 
fied with sighs and tears, as well as with obedience ; 
and well-pleased if they be but melancholy for their 
faults, though they never mend them ? We must 
not impute that to God, which would be a defect of 
wisdom and good government in any father or prince 
upon earth. God values no part of repentance upon 
any other account^ but as it tends to reclaim us to 
our duty, and ends in our reformation and amend- 
ment 

This is that which qualifies us for the happiness 
of another life, and ** makes us meet to be made par- 
takers of the inheritance of the saints in light." And 
without this, though God should be pleased to forr 
give us, yet we could not forgive ourselves ; and 
notwithstanding the legal discharge from guilt, the 
sting of it would remain, and we should, like our 
first pareuts, after they had sinned, run away and 
hide ourselves from God, though he spake never so 
kindly to us. God hath placed in every man's mind 
an inexorable judge, that will grant no pardon and 
forgiveness but to a reformed penitent, to him that 
hath such a sense of the evil of his past life,, as to be- 
come a better man for the future. 

And whoever entertains any other notion of the 
grace and mercy of God to sinners, confounds the 
nature of things, and does plainly overthrow the 
reason of all laws, which is to restrain men from 



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fi76 

sin ; but when it k oointnitted, to pardon it witb^ 
OQt ameDcJmeDt, is to encoorage the practice of it, 
and to take away the reverence and venera^OR of 
tbone laws, which seem so severely to forbid it. So 
that, next to impunity, the forgiveness of men's sins 
upon such easy and un6t terms gives boldness and 
encouragement to sin, and mnst necessarily, in the 
opinion of men, lessen the honour and esteem of 
God s laws. 

And thus I have considered and expli^ined both 
the blessing and benefit which is here promised and 
declared, viz. the mercy and favour of God, which 
comprehends both the present forgiveness of our 
sins, and power against them, and grace to per$e- 
Tere in goodness to the end, and our final abspla- 
tion at the great day, and the glorious and merciful 
reward of eternal life : and likewise the conditions 
upon which this blessing is promised ; viz. the peni- 
tent acknowledgment of our mns to God, with such 
shame and sorrow for them, as prodocedi a sinoere 
resolution of leaving them, and returning to a better 
course, and the actual forsaking of them, which in- 
volves in it our actual return to our duty, and a con- 
stant and sincere obedience to the laws of God in 
the future course of our lives. 

I shall now make some application of this dis- 
course to ourselves. I aoei sure we are "all nearly 
concerned in it. The best of us have many sins to 
confess and forsake; some of us very probably have 
need to change the whole course of our lives, to pot 
us into a capacity of the mercy of God. This work 
can never be unseasonable ; but there cannot be a 
more proper time for it, than when we are Miemmlj 
preparing ourselves to receive the holy eacrament; 
in which, as we do commemorate tlie great mercy 



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«77 

of«6idcI M nlaiikiini, so w^ da lilwwite reakxt and 
tonfirm o«nr carenant ^itii hiin ; tiiaft IiMy oevraaol^ 
whereio we erigagpe ourieiTes to foramke our sids^ 
6b eyor we expect the forgiteoees of tkem at God% 
hftad. 

To perBitAde Us liereto, bd pleased to consider 
the teasonabiedesd of tbe thing, the infinite bebeAt 
and advantage of it; and, \#bich is beyOnd all other 
ai^uments, .the absolute necessity of it> to make as 
tepable of the tee? cy and forgiveness of God iiri this 
World and the other, and to deliver us from the 
wrath which is to come, and from those lierriblb 
storms or Veiigea«ice, which will infallibly Ml tipoti 
impenitent sinners: so that we have ail the reason, 
and all the encouragement in the world, to resolve 
upon a better course. Upon this condition, the 
mercy of God is ready to meet and ettibrsoe us; 
God wilt pardon our greatest provocations, a«d be 
l^erfectly reconciled to os^ So- he hath declared by 
the prophet : (Isaiah i. 16.) '* Wash ye, taake y<iu 
dean t put away the eyil of your doings from b^K^ 
mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do welL Goase 
ikow, and let ut reason together, saitb the Lord ; 
though your sin^ be as* scarlet, they shall be as 
white as snow; though they be red as crimson, tbey 
shall be as wool.'' And what greater encouragement 
can we desire, than that, upon sueh easy and ad- 
vantageous terms, God should be so ready to have 
an end pqt to all controversies and quarrels betweeo 
him and us? 

. ** I beseech yon; therefore, brethren, by the mer- 
cies of God,'' to «ake up a ^mous resolution, '* to 
break off your amk by repentaocev^ and to reform 
v^hatever, upon due search aod trial of ycHir ways, 
you shall find to be amiss in yoor lives. 



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278 

** I beseech you by the mercies of God,'* that 
mercy which naturally leads to repentance, and 
which " is longt-suffering to u6-ward/' on purpose 
that ^^ we may not perish, but come to repentance ;** 
which hath spared us so often, and is not yet ex-* 
hausted and tired out by our intolerable obstinacy, 
and innumerable provocations ; that mercy which 
moved the Son of God to become man, to live 
among us, and to die for us ; who now, as it were, 
speaks to us from the cross, extending his pierced 
hands, and painful arms to embrace us, and, 
through the gasping wounds of his side, lets us see 
the tender and bleeding compassion of his heart; 
that mercy, which, if we now despise it, we shall 
in vain one day implore, and catch hold of, and 
hang upon, to save us from sinking into eternal 
perdition ; that mercy, which, how much soever we 
now presume upon, will then be so far from inter- 
posing between us and the wrath of God, that it 
will highly inflame and exasperate it. For whatever 
impenitent sinners may now think, they will then 
certainly find that the Divine justice, when it is 
thoroughly provoked, and whetted by his abused 
mercy and goodness, will be most terribly severe, 
and, like a razor set with oil, will cut the keener 
for its smoothness. 

** Consider this all ye that forget Grod, lest he 
tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver : 
consider and shew yourselves mea» O ye trans- 
gressors !'' 

We do consider all this, (some may perhaps say) 
but we have been great sinners^ w» great, that we 
doubt whether our case be not already desperate. 

This, if it be sensibly said, with deep sorrow and 
contrition, with that shame and concision of fieice 



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279 

\fhicfa becomesgreat offimdera, is a good qoofes* 
8100, and' the bert raason in the world, why ye 
should DOW break off your sins : for if what you 
have already done, do really make your case so 
doubtful and difficult, do not, by sinning yet more 
and more against the Lord, make it quite desperate 
and past remedy ; do but you repent, and God 
will yet return and have mercy upon you. And do 
not say you cannot do it, when it must be done, or 
you are undone. Power and necessity go together : 
when men are hard pressed, they find a power which 
they thought they had not ; and when it comes to 
the push, men can do that which they plainly see 
they either must do, or be ruined for ever. 

But, after all this, I am very sensible how great a 
need there is of God's powerful assistance in this 
case, and that it is not an ordinary resolution and 
common measure of God's grace, that will reclaim 
those who have been long habituated to an evil 
course. 

Let us, therefore, earnestly beg of him, that he 
would make these counsels effectual, that he would 
grant us repentance unto life, that he would make 
us all sensible of our faults, sorry for them, and re- 
solved to amend them ; and let us every one put up 
David's prayer to God for ourselves, " Deal with 
thy servant according to thy mercy, and teach me 
thy statutes. Order my steps in thy word, and let 
not any iniquity have dominion over me. Teach me, 
O Lord, the way of thy statutes, that I may keep 
them unto the end." 

I have now done ; I am only to, mind you of aiV3- 
ther duty, which is to accompany our repentance, 
and fasting, and prayer, as a testimony of the sin- 
cerity of our repentance, and one of the best means 



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280 

to make Mir fats^tfig aird prayer acceptable to God, 
and to tura away his jadgweots from ua; aind that 
its charity aad alma to the poor, whose namber h 
Tery great among M, and their neceaaitiefr very preea- 
iDg and clamorotfa, and therefore do call for a 
bonntiful supply. 

And to convibce fiieo of the tieOessity of thiaduty, 
and the efficacy of it id conjunction with our repent^ 
ance, and lasting, and prayers, I shall only offer to 
yonr consideration a fbw plain texts of Scripture^ 
which heed Ho comment upon them. (l)an. i^^2T.) It 
ts the prophet's advice to Nebuchadnezzar; '* Break 
off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquity by 
shewing mercy to the poor ; if so be it may be a 
lengthening of thy tranquillity.** { Acts x. 4.) The 
angel there tells Corneliun, " Thy prayers and thine 
alms are come up for a memorial before God.'* (Faa. 
lviii.6, &c.) *' Is not this the fbst which 1 have cbosetrf 
to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy 
burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that 
ye break every yoke ? la it not to deal thy bread to 
the hungry, and that thou bring the poor liiat ttre 
cast out to thy house? when thou seest the nakedf 
that thou cover him ; and that thou hide not thyself 
f^om thy own flesh? Then shall thy light break 
(btHh as the morning, and thine liealth shall spHng 
forth speedily, and thy rigbteoCisness shall go beflire 
Aiee, and the glory of the Lord shall be thy rete- 
ward : then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall an- 
swer thee ; tbott shalt cry, and he shalt say, Hefe I 
am." To which I will only add that graciods pro* 
miseofour Saviour; ** Blessed are the mercifol, 
for they shall find mercy ;" and that terrible s^n- 
t^nce in St. Jatnes, '' Hesbslll have judgment with- 
out mercy, that hath shewed no mercy T 



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SERMON CLX. 

or CONFESSION, ASD SORROW FOR SIN. 

/ wiii declare mine iniquity, and be sorry for my JWi,-r- 
PsALM xxxviii. 18. 

In this psalm David does earnestly beg mercy and 
forgiveness of God, and in order to the obtaining 
of it, he declares both his sins, and his repentance 
for them, in these words, which contain in them two 
of the necessary ingredients, or at least concomi- 
tants, of a true repentance ; viz^. confession of sin, 
and sorrow for it. 

I shall speak something of the first of these, Ti2. 
confession of sin : but the second, viz. sorrow for 
sin, shall be the main subject of my discourse. 

I. Confession of sin; ** F will declare mine ini- 
quity ;*• or, as it is in the old translation, "I will con- 
fess my wickedness." Of which \ shall speak under 
these three heads : 

I. What confession of sin is. 

II. How far it is necessary. 

III. What are the reasons and grounds of this ne*- 
cessity. 

I. What confession of sin is. It is a declaration 
or acknowledgment of some moral evil or fault to 
another, which we are conscious to ourselves we 
have been guilty of; And this acknowledgment may 
be made by us, either to God or man. The Scrips 
tore mentions both. Confession of our sins to God 
is very frequently mentioned in Scripture, as the 

VOL. VII. u 



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S8t 

ftfst and necessary part of repentance ; and some- 
times, and in some cases, confession to men is not 
only recommended bnt enjoined. 

IL How far confession of our sins is necessary. 
That it is necessary to confess our sins to God, the 
Scripture plainly declares, and is I think a matter 
out of all dispute. For it is a necessary part of re- 
pentance, that we should confess our sins to God, 
with a due sense of the evil of them ; and, therefdre, 
the Scripture roaketh this a necessary qualiBcation 
and condition of pardon and forgiveness. (Prov. 
xxviii. 13.) '' Whoso confesseth and forsaketh his 
sins, shall have mercy.'' (1 John i. 9.) **If we confess 
our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, 
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness;" imply- 
ing, that if we do not confess our sins to God, the 
guilt of them will still remain ; to God, I say, for of 
confession to him St John plainly speaks, when he 
says, ** He is faithful and just." Who ? God surely, 
who, though he be not named before, yet is neces- 
sarily understood in the words before ; '' If we con- 
fess our sins, (t. e. to God), he is faithful and just" 

A general confession of our sins is absolutely ue* 
cessary; and in some cases a particular acknow- 
ledgment of them, and repentance for them, espe- 
cially if the sins have been great, and deliberate, and 
presumptuous ; in this case a particular confession 
of them, and repentance for them, is necessary so 
far as we can particularly recollect them, and call 
them to remembrance: whereas, for sins of ignorance 
and infirmity, of surprise and daily incursion, for 
lesser omissions, and the defects.and imperfections 
of our best actions and services, we have all the rea- 
•on that can be to believe, that God will accept of 
a general confession of them, and repentance for 



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tbeiD. And if aoy man ask me, where I find diis 
distiDction in Scripture between a general and par- 
ticular repentance ? I answer, that it is not necessary 
it should be any where expressed in Scripture, be- 
ing so clearly founded m the nature and reason of 
the thing ; because in many cases it is not possible 
that we should have a particular knowledge and 
remembrance of all our particular sins ; as is plain 
in ^ins of ignorance, since our very calling them by 
that name dees necessarily suppose that we do not 
know them. It is impossible we should remepaber 
those sins afterwards which we did not know when 
they were committed ;' and, therefore, either a ge- 
neral repentance for these and the other sins I men- 
tioned of the like nature, must be sufficient, in order 
to the pardon of them ;' or we must^say that they 
are unpardonable, which would be very unreason- 
able, because this would be to make lesser sins 
more unpardonable than those which are far greater. 

And yet, though this difference between a general 
and particular repentance be no where expressly 
mentioned in Scripture, there does not want founda- 
tion for it there. (Psal. xix. 12.) " Who can under- 
stand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret 
sins ;" t. e. such as we do not discern and take notice 
of when they are committed. And yet David sup- 
poseth, that upon a general acknowledgment of 
them^ and repeptafie^ f^^r them, we may be cleansed 
from them, though we cannp^ make a particular ac- 
knowledgment of them, and exercise a particular 
repentance for them, because the^r are secret, and 
we do not particularly [understand what they are. 

As for our confessing our sins to men, both Scrip- 
ture and reason do, in some cases, recommend and 
enjoin iti As, . 

u 2 



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SS4 

1. Id order to tbe obtaioiDg of the prayers of 
good men for us : (James t- 16.) " Confess yonr 
sins one to another ;** he said before, " the prayer 
of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise 
blm up.*' This, in all probability, is meant of the 
miraculous power of prayer, which St. Chrysostom 
reckons among the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, 
bestowed upon Christians in the first ages of th6 
church : and this is very much countenanced and 
cohfirmed by what presently follows after this com- 
mand, of confessing our sins one to another, and 
praying one for another, and given as the reason 
of it ; for ** the effectual fervent prayer of a righ- 
teous man availeth much." The original is Sli?<rcc mp- 
yoii/ihniy ** the inspired prayer ;" which, in the verse 
before, is called ** the prayer of faith,** meaning 
that mihiculous faith, in the power whereof Christ- 
ians did obtain of God whatever they were inspired 
to ask of him ; according to our Saviour's promise 
in the gospel, concerning the efficacy of the prayers 
of Christians, which we find mentioned among the 
other miraculous powers which were to be conferred 
upon them by the coming of the Holy Ghost. 

2. Confession of our sins to men is likewise rea^ 
sonable, in ordei^ to the ease and satisfaction of 
our minds, and our being directed in our duty for 
tbe futtire. Iii this case, common reason and pru*- 
^ence, without any precept of iScripture, will direct 
men to have recourse to this remedy; viz. to discover 
and lay open our disease to some skilful jspiritual 
physiciati ; to some faithful friend, or prudent 
guide, in order to spiritual advice and direction; 
fbr the peace and satisfieictioB of our minds. And 
theto, 

3. In case our sins have been public and scanda^ 



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2»5 

k>iur, both reason and the practica of the Christiaii 
church do require, that, when mea have publicly 
offended, they should gi^e public satisfaction and 
open testimony of their repentance. 

But as for private and auricular confession of 
our sins to a priest in all cases, and as of absolute 
necessity to onr obtaining pardon and forgiveness 
from God, as the church of Rome teachetb, this is 
neither necessary by Divine precept, nor by any 
constitution and practice of the ancient Christian 
church, as I have shewn in my former discourse. 

Not to mention the bad consequence of this prac^ 
tice, and the impious and dangerous use virhich hath 
been made of this seal of confession, tor the conceal* 
log and carrying on of the most wicked and barba- 
rous designs, and the debauching of the peni- 
tents, by drawing them into the commission of the 
same and. greater sins than those which they con^ 
fiessed, which the more devout persons of that 
church have frequently complained * of : — I proceed 
now to shew briefly in the 

IIL Third place, the grounds and reasons of the 
necessity of confessing our sins to God ; and I shall 
but just mention them. 

1. From the precept and command ^f God ; for 
which I have already produced clear proof of Scrip'^ 
ture. 

2. From the nature of the thing, because without 
this there can be no repentance towards God. He 
that will not so much as own the faults which he 
hath been guilty of, can never repent of them. If 
we will not confess our sins to Grod, we are never 
like to be sorry for them. — ^Thus much for the first 
thing in the text, the confession of our sins* I pro* 
ceed now, to the 



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286; 

Second ingredient of repentance mentioned io 
the textf which is sorrow for sin ; "I will declare 
mine iniquity, and be sorry for my sin." In the 
handling of this argument, I shall, 

I. Consider the nature of this passion of sorrow. 

II. -The reason and grounds of our sorrow for sin. 

III. The measure and degrees of it. 

IV. How far the outward expression of our in- 
ward grief by tears is necessary to a true repent- 
ance. 

I. For the nature of this passion. Sorrow is a 
trouble or disturbance of mind, occasioned by 
something that is evil, done or suffered by us, or 
which we are in danger of suffering, that tends 
greatly to our damage or mischief: so that to be 
sorry for a thing, is nothing else but to be sensibly 
affected with the consideration of the evil of it, and 
of the mischief and inconvenience which is like to 
redound to us from it : which if it be a moral evil, 
such as sin is, to be sorry for it, is to be troubled 
that we have done it, and to wish with all our 
hearts that we had been wiser, and had done other- 
wiscf ; and if this sorrow be true and real, if it abide 
and stay upon us, it will produce a firm purpose 
and resolution in us, not to do the like for the 
future. 

It is true, indeed^ that we are said to be sorry for 
the death and loss of friends ; but this is rather the 
effect of natural affection than of our reason, which 
always endeavours to check and moderate our 
grief for that which we cannot help, and labours by 
all means to turn our sorrow into patience. And we 
ar^ said, likewise, togrievefor themiseries and suffer* 
ings of others; but this is not so properly sorrow, as 
pity and trompassion. Sorrow rather respects our* 



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387 

•aires, and cor own doinga and suffimngi. I pro- 
ceed, in the 

II. Second place, to inquire into the reasons and 
grounds of our sorrow for sin ; and they, as I have 
already hinted, are these two — the intrinsical, or the 
conseqnent evil of sin ; either the evil of sin in itselft 
or the mischiefs and inconveniences which it. will 
bring apon ns. For every one that is sorry for any 
fault he is gnilty of, he is so upon one of these two 
accounts ; either upon the score of ingenuity, or of 
interest ; either because he hath done a thing which 
is unworthy in itself, or because he hath done some* 
thing which may prove prejudicial to himself; 
either out of a principle of love and gratitude to 
God, or from a principle of self-love. And though 
the former of these be the better, the more generous 
principle of sorrow ; yet the latter is usually the 
first : because it is the more sensible, and toucheth 
us more nearly. For sin is a base and ill-natured 
thing, and renders a man not so apt to be affected 
with the injuries he hath offered to God, as with the 
mischief which is likely to fall upon himself. And« 
therefore, I will begin with the latter, because it ia 
usually the more sensible cause of our trouble and 
sorrow for sin. 

1. The great mischief and inconvenience that sin 
is like to bring upon us. When a man is thorough- 
ly convinced of the danger into which his sins have 
brought him, that they have *^ made him a child of 
wrath, and a son of perdition,*' that he is thereby 
fallen under the heavy displeasureof Almighty God, 
and liable to all those dreadful curses which are 
written in his book ; that ruin and destruction hang 
over him, and that nothing keeps him from eternal 
and intolerable torments, but the patience and long- 



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289 

sofii^riDg.of Gocl» which Jie does »ot know bow 00011 
it may cease to interpose between him add th« 
^rath of God, and let him fall iato thateqdless and 
insupportable mkery, which is the just portioii and 
dedert of his sins; be that lays to heart the sad 
estate and conditioD into which hd hath brought 
himself by sin, and the luiscbiefs which attend hitn 
orery moment of his continuance in that state, and 
bow they are to him, and that there is but a step 
between him and death, and hardly another between 
that and hell ; he cannot surely but be very sorry 
for what he hath done, and be highly displeased and 
ofiended with himself, that he should be the author 
of his own rn,in^ and have contributed as much as in 
hiffi lies to his everlasting undoing. 
- ii. Another and better principle of sorrow. for 
sin, is ingenuity; because we are sensible that we 
bave carried ourselves very unworthily towards 
God, and have been irgurious to him, who hath laid 
all possible obligations upon us: for he hath made 
«0» and hath given us our beings, and hath charged 
bis watchfitl providence with the continual care of 
«s ; his bouuty hath ministered to the necessities 
and comforts of our life; all the blessings that we 
enjoy, are the effects of his mere love and goodness, 
without any hope of requital^ or expectation of any 
other return from U8» than of love, of gratitude, and 
obedience; which yet are of no advants^e to him, 
but very beneficial and comfortable to ourselves: 
tor be does not e:^pect duty and obedience from 
us, with any r^gard of benefit to himself, but for our 
sakesi and in order to our own happiness. 

Nay, his kindness did not stop here, but after we 
bad abuaed him by our repeated fpt*ovocatjons, 'yet 
he still continued his care of us ; and when we had 



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Atrtber pr6?oked bim to withdraw Us love, and to 
call in his abused goodneds, and bad done wbat 
lay in us to make ourselves miserable, be would not 
suffer us to be undone, but found out a ransom for 
us, and hatb contrived a way for the pardon of all 
our offences, and to- reconcile us to himself, and to 
restore us to happiness, by the most stupendous 
luid amasing condescension of love and goodness 
that ever was, even by giving his only Son to die 
for us. 

And can we reflect upon all this, and not be sorry 
and grieved at our very hearts, that we should be 
so evil to him, who hath been so good to us ; that 
we should be so undutiful to so loving a father, so 
ttnkind to so faithful and constant a friend, so un* 
grateful and unworthy to so mighty a benefactor 7 
If any thing will melt us into tears, surely this will 
do it, to consider that we have sinned against him 
who made us, and continually preserves lis, and after 
all our unkindness to him, did still retain so great 
a love for us, as to redeem us from hell and destruc* 
tion by the death and suffering of his Son, and 
notwithstanding all our offences, does still offer us 
pardon and peace, life and happiness? Such cousin 
derations as these, seriously laid to heart, should, 
one would think, break the hardest heart, and mako 
tears to gush even out of a rock. I proceed, in th^ 

IIL Third place, to'consider the measure and de« 
gree of oiir sorrow for sin. That it admits of degrees, 
which ought to bear some proportion to the heinous* 
oess of our sins, and the several aggravations of 
them, and the time of our continuance in them, is 
out of all dispute : for though the least sin be i^ 
juBt cause of the deepest sorrow, yet, because our 
greatest grief can never bear a due proportion to thft 



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Tast and infinite evil of sin^ God is pleased to require 
and accept such measures of sorrow as do not bear 
an exact correspondence to the malignity of sin, 
provided they be according to the capacity of our 
nature, and in some sort proportioned to the d^^ree 
and aggravations of our sin : i. e. though the highest 
degree of our sorrow doth necessarily fall below the 
evil of the least sin, yet God requires that we should 
be more deeply affected with some sins than others. 

But what is the lowest degree which God requires 
in a true penitent, and will accept, as it is impossible 
for me to tell, so it is unprofitable for any body to 
know : for no man can reasonably make this in- 
quiry with any other design, than that he may learn 
how he may come off with God upon the cheapest 
and easiest terms. Now there cannot be a worse 
sign that a man is not truly sensible of the great 
evil of sin than this, that he desires to be troubled 
for it as little as may be, and no longer than needs 
must: and none surely are more unlikely to find ac* 
ceptance with God, than those who deal so nearly^ 
and endeavour to drive so hard a bargain with him. 

And therefore I shall only say this in general, 
concerning the degrees of our sorrow for sin ; that 
sin being so great an evil in itself, and of so per- 
nicious a consequence to us, it cannot be too roach 
lamented and grieved for by us : and the more and 
greater our sins have been, and the longer we have 
continued and lived in them, they call for so much 
the greater sorrow, and deeper humiliation from us : 
for the reasoning of our Saviour concerning Mary 
Magdalen, ''She loved much, because much was 
forgiven her," is proportionably true in this case— 
those who have sinned much, should sorrow the 
more. ^ 



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And then we must take this caution along with 
us, that if we would judge aright of the truth of our 
sorrow forssin, w^ must not measure it so much by 
the degrees of sensible trouble and affliction, as by 
the rational effects of it, which are hatred of sin, 
and a fixed purpose and resolution against it for the 
future: for he is most truly sorry for his miscar- 
riage, who looks upon what he hath done amiss with 
abhorrence and detestation of the thing, and wisheth 
he had not done it, and censures himself severely for 
it, and thereupon resolves not to do the like again. 
And this is the character which St. Paul gives of 
a godly sorrow, (2 Cor. vii. 10.) that it " worketh 
repentance,** jucravocav, it produceth a real change in 
our minds, and makes us to alter our purpose and 
resolution : and though such a person may not be 
so passionately and sensibly afflicted for sin, yet it 
appears, by the effect, that he hath a deeper and 
more rational resentment of ttie evil of it, than that 
main who is sad and melancholy^ and drooping for 
never so long a time, and aftek* all returns to bis 
fbrmer sinful course; the degree of his sorrow may 
appear greater, but the effect of it is really less. 

IV. As for the outward expressions of our grief 
and sorrow. The usual sign and outward expres- 
sion of sorrow is tears ; but th^se being not the sob- 
stance of our duty, but an external testimony of it, 
which some tempers are more unapt to than others ; 
we are much less to judge of the truth 6f our sorrow 
for sin by these, than by our inward sensible trouble 
and affliction of spirit. Some persons are of a more 
tender and melting disposition, and can command 
their tears upon a little occasion, and upon very, 
short warning; and such persons that can weep 
for eyery thing else that troubles them, have much 



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more reason to suspect the truth of their sorrow for 
sip, if this outward expression of it be wanting. 
And we find, id Scripture, that the sorrow of true 
penitents does very frequently discover itself by this 
outward sign of it. Thus, when Ezra and the peo|He 
made confession of theijr sins to God, it is said, that 
" they wept very sore," (Ezra x.) Peter, when he 
reflected upon that great sin of denying his master, 
it is said, '* he went forth and wept bitterly.'' David 
also was abundant in this expression of bis grief. 
In the Book of Psalms he speaks frequently of his 
sighs and groans, and of watering his couch with 
his tears: yea, so sensibly was he affected with 
the evil of sin, that he could shed tears plentifully 
for the sins of others : (Psal. cxix. 136.) '' Rivers of 
waters run down mine eyes, because men keep not 
thy law." In like manner, Jeremiah tells us, that 
his soul did weep in secret places, for the pride 
and obstinacy of the Jews ; that bis ** eye did weep 
sore, and run down with tears,** (Jer. xiii. 17.) And 
0o likewise St. Paul: (Phil. iii. 18.) ''There are 
many that walk, of whom I have told you often, and 
now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies 
even to the cross of Christ.'* And there seems to 
be this natural reason for it, that all great and per- 
manent impressions upon the mind, all deep inward 
resentments, have usually a proportionable effect 
qpon the body and the inferior faculties. 

But though this happen very frequently^ yet it is 
not so constant and certain ; for all men have not 
, the same tenderness of spirit, nor are equally prone 
to tears: nay, though a man can weef> upon natural 
accounts, as upon the loss of a child, or near rela- 
tkm, or an intimate friend, or when he lies under a 
^harp bodily pain, yet a man may truly repent^ 



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though he canDOt express his sorrow for sio the 
same way, provided he give testimony of it by more 
real effects: and therefore the rule, which is com* 
monly given by casuists in this case, seems to be 
more ensnaring than true and useful; namely, ''That 
that man that can shed tears upon account of any 
evil less than that of sin (as certainly all natural 
evils are), ought to question the truth of his repent- 
ance for any sio that he hath committed, if he can- 
not shed tears for it/' This 1 think is not true, 
because there is scarce any man of so hard and un- 
relenting a spirit, but the loss of a kind father, or a 
dear child, or other near relation, will force tears 
from him ; and yet such a man, if it were to save 
his soul, may not be able at some times to shed a 
tear for his sins. And the reason is obvious ; be- 
cause tears do proceed from a sensitive trouble, and 
are commonly the product of a natural affection ; 
and therefore it is no wonder, if they flow more 
readily and easily upon a natural account ; because 
they are the effect of a cause suitable to their nature. 
But sorrow for sin, which hath moreof the judgment 
and understanding in it, hath not its foundation in 
natural affection, but in reason ; and therefore may 
not many times express itself in tears, though it 
may produce greater and more proper effects. 

So that, upon the whole matter*, I see no reason to 
call in question the truth and sincerity of that man's 
sorrow and repentance, who hates sin and forsfetkefir 
it, and returns to God and his duty, though he can-* 
not shed tears, and express the bitterness of his soul 
for his sin, by the same significations that a mother 
doth in the loss of her only son. He that cannot weep 
like a child may resolve like a m^n, and thai undoubt- 
edly will find aicceptance with God. A learned divine 



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294 

hath well illustrated this matter by this similitttder 
Tvro persons walking together espy a serpent ; the 
one shrieks and cries out at the sight of it, the other 
kills it: so it is in sorrow for sin ; some express it 
by great lamentation and tears, and vehement trans- 
ports of passions ; others by greater and more real 
eflTects of hatred and detestation, by forsaking their 
sins, and by mortifying and subduing their lusts: 
but be that kills it does certainly best express his 
inward displeasure and enmity against it. 

The application 1 shall make of what hath been 
said upon this argument, shall be in two particulars : 

I. By way of caution, and that against a double 
mistake about sorrow for sin. 

1. Some look upon trouble and sorrow for sin as 
the whole of repentance. 

2. Others exact from themselves snch a degree of 
sorrow as ends in melancholy, and renders them un- 
fit both for the duties of religion, and of their parti- 
cular calling. The first concerns almost the general- 
ity of men ; the latter but a very few in comparison. 

1. There are a great many who look upon trou. 
ble and sorrow for their si^s as the whole of repent- 
ance, whereas it is but an introduction to it. It is 
that which works repentance ; but it is not repent- 
ance itself. Repentance is alwiays accompanied 
with sorrow for sin ; but sorrow for sin does not al- 
ways end in true repentance: sorrow only respects 
sins past ; but repentance is chiefly preventive of sin 
for the future. And God doth therefore require 
our sorrow for sin, in order to our forsaking of it. 
(Heb. vi. 1.) Repentance is therefore called "re- 
pentance from dead works." It is not only a sorrow 
for theoa, but a turning from them. 

There is no reason why men should be so willing 



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iq deceive tbemseWes, for tbey are like to be the 
losers b]rit : but so we see it is; that many men are 
contented to be deceived to their own rtiin ; and 
among many other ways which men have to cheat 
themselves, this is none of the least frequent, to 
think that if they can but shed a few tears for sin 
upon a death-bed, which no doubt they may easily 
do, when they see their friends weeping about them, 
and apprehend themselves to be in imminent danger, 
not only of death, but of that which is most terrible, 
the heavy displeasure and the fiery indignation of 
Almighty God, into whose hands *'itis a fearful 
thing to fall :** I say, they think that if they can but 
do thiis much, God will accept this for true repent- 
ance, and hereupon grant them pardon and eternal 
life. And upon these fond hopes, they adjourn their 
repentance, and the reformation of their lives, to a 
dying honr. 

Indeed, if I were to speak to a man upon his 
death-bed, I would encourage him to a great contri- 
tion and sorrow for bis sins, as his last and only re- 
medy, and the best thing he can do at that time ; 
but, on the other hand, when I am speaking to those 
that are well and in health, I dare not give them the 
least encouragement to venture their souls upon this, 
because it is a hazardous and almost desperate re- 
medy ; especially when men have cunningly and de- 
signedly contrived to rob God of the service of their 
lives, and to put him off with a few unprofitable 
si^hs and tears at their departure out of the world. 
Our Saviour tells us, that it is '' not every one that 
•hall say unto him, Lordi Lord! that shall enter 
into the kingdom of heaven ;'^ and that there is a 
time when '' many shall seek to enter in, but shall 
not be able." 



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Th6 sum df this caution is, tbat mcto shouid take 
beed of mistakiog sorrow for sin for true repentance^ 
unless it be followed with the forsaking of sin and 
the real reformation of our lives. Abab humbled 
himself, but we do not find tbat he was a true peni^ 
tent. Judas was sorry for his sin, and yet for all 
that was '* the son of perdition/' Esau is a sad 
type of an ineffectual sorrow for sin : (Heb. xii.) 
where the apostle tells us, that '' he found no place 
for repentance," that is, no way to change the mind 
of his father Isaac, '' though he sought it carefully 
with tears." If sorrow for sin were repentance, there 
would*be store of penitents in hell: for there is the 
deepest and most intense sorrow, '' weeping, and 
wailing, and gnashing of teeth." 

2. Another mbtake which men ought to be cmh 
tioned against in this matter, is, of those who exact 
from themselves such a degree of sorrow for sin, as 
ends in deep melancholy, as renders them unfit both 
for the duties of religion, and of their particular 
callings. But because there are but very few who 
fall into this mistake, I shall need to say the less to 
It. This only I shall say, that those who indulge 
thdr sorrow to such a degree, as to drown their 
spirits, and to sink them into melancholy and mopidi* 
ness, and thereby render themselves unserviceable 
to God, and unfit for the necessities of this life, they 
commit one sin more to mourn for, and overthrow the 
end of repentance by the indiscreet use of the means . 
of it. For the end of sorrow for sin, is the forsaking 
of it and returning to our duty : but he that sorrows 
for sin, so as to unfit him for his duty, defeats ti» 
own design, and destroys the end he aims at. 

II. The other part of the application of this dis- 
course should be, to stir up this affection of sorrow 



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%9t 

io m- Anih«t^ HI had Una, t iiitghli«|pM^«ik W 
yon the great ftvil of sm, and the ioAnite daoger and 
iacooycDience of it If the holy mea in Scripture, 
David, aiid Jeiemiahi and St. Panl, nere so deeply 
afficted with the sins of cttbers, as to shed rivers of 
tears at the remeabraDee of them ; how ought we 
to be toiiohed with the sense of oujrewn sins, who are 
equally coneeraed in the dishonoxir brought to God 
by them, aqd infinitely more in th^ danger they ex* 
pose us to I Can we w^p for our dead friends ; and 
bav^ we no sense of that heavy load pf guitt, of that 
body of death, which we carry about with us? C^a 
we be «iad and melancholy tor temporal losses and 
stUferings, ^d 'f refose to be comfot ted f and is it 
no trouble to us to have l^st" heaven and happiness, 
and to be in continuat danger of the intolerable su& 
ferings and endless torments of another world ? 

1 shall only offer to your consideration, the great 
benefit and advantage which will redound to us 
from this godly sorrow ; " it worketh repentance to 
salvation, not to be repented of," saith St. Paul. 
If we would thus ** sow in tears," we should " reap 
in joy," This sorrow would but continue for a 
time, and in the morning of the resurrection there 
would be joy to all eternity, ** Joy unspeakable and 
full of glorjr," It is ^but a very little while, and 
these days of mourning will be accomplished ; and 
then '* all tears shall be wiped from our eyes ; and 
the ransomed of the Lord, shall come to Sion with 
songs, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads. 
They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and 
sighing shall flee away. Blessed are they that 
mourn, for they shall be comforted : but woe unto 
you that laugh, for ye shall mourn and weep." If 
men will rejoice in the pleasures of sin, *^ and walk 

VOL. VII. X 



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298 

in the ways of their hearts, and in the sight of their 
eyes ;" if they will remove sorrow from their heart, 
and put away all sad and melancholy thoughts from 
them, and are resolved to harden their spirits 
against the sense of sio, against the cheeks and con- 
victions of their own consciences, and the sugges- 
tions of God's Holy Spirit, against all the ai^unents 
that God can offer, and all the methods that God 
can use to bring them to repentance; let them 
^^know, that for all these things God will bring them 
into judgment;" and, because they would not give 
way to a timely and seasonable sorrow for sin, they 
shall lie down in eternal sorrow ; *^ weeping, and 
wailing, and gnashing of teeth shall be their portion 
for ever." From vrhich sad and miserable estate, 
beyond all imagination, and past all remedy, God 
of his in6nite goodness deUver us all, for Jesus 
Christ his sake. 
To whom, &c. 



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SERMON CLXI. 

THE XINPROFITABLENESS OF SIN IN THIS LIFE, AN 
ARGUMENT FOR REPENTANCE. 

He lookelh upon men ; and if any say^ I have sinned^ 
and perverted that which was right, and it profited 
me not ; he will deliver his soul from going into 
the pit J and his l\fe shall see the light. — Job xxxiii. 
27, 28- 

The great folly and perverseness of liaman nature is 
in Dotbiug more apparent than in this, that when in 
all other things men are generally led and governed 
by their interests, and can hardly be imposed upon 
by any art, or persuaded by any solicitation, to act 
plainly contrary to it ; yet, in matter of their sin and 
duty, that is, in that which of all other is of greatest 
concernment to them, they have little or no regard to 
it; but are so blinded and bewitched with " the de- 
ceitfulness of sin," as not to consider the infinite dan- 
ger and disadvantage of it ; and at the same time to 
cast the commandments of God, and the considera- 
tion of their own happiness behind their backs. 

And of this every sinner, when he comes to him- 
self, and considers what he hath done, is abundant- 
ly convinced ; as appears by the confession and ac- 
knowledgment, which is here in the text put idto 
the mouth of a true penitent : '' I have sinned, and 
perverted that which was right, and it profited me 
not," &c. 

In which words here is a great blessing and benc- 
x2 



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300 

fit promised an God^s part, and a canditfon rtequired 
on our part. 

First, The blessing or benefit promised on God*» 
part, which is deliverance from the ill consequences 
and punishment of sin ; " he will deliver his soul 
from going into the pit, and his life shall see the 
Fight ;" that is, he will deliver him from death and 
damnation. And though, perhaps, temporal death 
be here immediately intended, yet that is a type of 
our deliverance from eternal death: which is ex- 
pressly promised in the gospel. 

Secondly, Here is the condition required on our 
part : ** If any say, I have sinned, and perverted 
that which was right, and it profited me not." In 
which words there are contained, 

I. A penitent confession of our sins to God ; for 
^' Helooketh upon men> and if any say, I havesinned;*'^ 
that is, make a penitent confession of his sin to God* 

II. A true contrition for our sin ; not only for 
fear of the pernicious consequences of sin, and the 
punishment that will follow it* implied in these 
words, ** and it profited me not," this is but a very 
imperfect contrition; but from a just sense of the 
evil nature of sin, and the fault and offence of it 
s^ainst God,, that we have done cdntrary to right 
and our duty. " If any say, I have sinned, and per- 
verted that which was right." Here you see that 
true aud perfect eontrition for our sins, i^ made a 
necessary conditiou of the blessing and benefit here 
promised; viz. deliverance frotn the pumshn^ent due 
fee them. 

IIL Here is a descriptiou of the evil nature of 
jsin, it is a perverting of that which is right. Sid 
is a perverting of the constitution and appointment 
of God, and of the nature and order of thii^s* God 



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ImUi givea maB a lew aod rule to walk by, fo^t ^* tbe 
foolishness of eiao perv^tetli his way." The ^eat 
lines of our duty are plain aod irisible to all men; 
aod if we w<»uld attend to the direction of onr^wn 
V^inds, epneeraiog good and evil, every man would be 
a law to himself. ^' £Le hath shewed thee, O nan^ 
what is good." That which is right, and just, and 
food^ is plain and obvious, and olTers itself first to 
us ; 9Pd wbenever we sin, we go out of the right 
way that lies plain before us, and ^' turn aside into 
crooked paths*"* But when we do that whi<^ is 
right, we act agreeably to the design and frame of 
our beings, and comply with the true nature and 
order of things; we do wb«t becomes u«, and are 
what we ou^ht to be : but sin perverts the nature of 
things^ and puis them out of course; ** I havesinaed^ 
and perverted that which was right/ 

IV, You have here an acknowledgment of tlw^ 
iliiscbievous and pernicioi;is consequences of sii^ : '^ I 
have sinned, and perverted that which was ri^f; 
9mi it profited me not." Which last words are a 
iAmmQ^ in which much less is said than is meant and 
mtended: ^Vlt pro&tedme not," that is, it was m 
fykT (kom being of advantage, that the ejects and con* 
aeql^encesiof it were very pernicious and destructive;. 

And this is not only jLrue as to the final issue and 
e^ent of an evil course in the other world, but I 
rtatiteftdeavour to ftbew, that even in respect of this 
woorld, and the present life, the practice of some 
wm is pbinly mischievoiis to the temporal intecesoks 
of men;; that others ai« wbolly unprofitable; and 
Hiat those mrhich pretend to bring some benefit and 
advantage, will, when all accounts are cast up, and 
All circumstances duly weighed and coDsidered, be 
iMnd to do^ iar otherwise. 



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^ 302 

First, I shall shew that the practice of some vices 
is evidently mischievous and prejudicial to us, as to 
this world ; as, all those vices which fall under the 
cognizance of human laws, and are punished by. 
them, murder, theft, perjury, sedition, rebellion, and 
the like; these cannot be denied to be of pernicious 
consequence to men, and therefore the great patrons 
of vice seldom plead for these ; the inconvenience of 
them is so palpable, that some feel it, and all may 
see it every day. , 

But besides these, there are many other sorts of 
sin which human laws either take no notice of, or 
do not so severely punish, which yet, in their nattTral 
consequences, are very pernicious to our present in- 
terest; either they are a disturbance to our minds, or 
dangerous to our health, or ruinous to our estate, or 
hurtful to our reputation, or it may be at once pre- 
judicial to us in all, or most of these respects ; and 
these -are the greatest temporal inconveniences that 
men are liable to. 

All irregular passions, as wrath, malice, envy, 
impatience, and revenge, are not only a disturbance 
to ourselves, but they naturally draw upon us 
hatred and contempt from others. Any one of these 
passions is enough to render a man uneasy to him- 
self, and to make his conversation disgustful and 
troublesome to all that are about him ; for all men 
naturally hate all those who are of an envious, or 
malicious, or revengeful temper, and are apt to rise 
up and stand upon their guard against them. Anger 
and impatience are great deformities of the mind, 
and make a man look as ugly as if he had a wry and 
distorted countenance ; and these passions are apt 
to breed in others a secret contempt of us, and to 
bring our prudence into question, because they are 



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SOS 

«igas of a weak and impotent mind, tbat either hath 
lost, or never had, the geyemment of itseFf. 

There are other vices which are plainly perniciouls 
to our health, and do naturally bring pains and dis-^ 
^ases upon men ; »uch are intemperance and lust: 
^nd though some may pretend to govern themselves 
in the practice of these with so much moderatioii 
and discretion, as to prevent the notorious bad con 
sequences of them, yet there are very few or none 
that do so : this is seldom more than a speculation^ 
and men that allow themselves in any lewd or in- 
temperate course, will find it very hard to govern 
themselves in it ; for after men have forfeited their 
jnnocence, and broke in upon their natural modesty^ 
they are apt by degrees to grow profligate and des- 
perate. If a man gives way but little to his own vi- 
.ciotis inclinations, they will soon get head of him, 
and BO man know^ how far they will hurry him at 
last 

Besides that, the vices I am speaking of, intem- 
perance and hist, have other great inconvenience! 
attending them, they expose men more frequent!} 
than most other vices, to occasions of quarrel, in 
which men often lose their own lives, or take away 
other men's, by which they fiall under the danger of 
the law, and the stroke of public justice ; or, if 
they escape that (as too often they do) they cannot 
fly from their own consciences, which do commonly 
fill them with the horror and torment of such an ac- 
tion all their days ; so pernicious are the usual con- 
sequences of these vices, of which we see sad in- 
^stances e^ery day. 

Nor are these vices less hurtful to men's estates, 
for they are extremely expensive and wasteful, and 
iMSttally make men careless of all their business and 



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eonteraWeDto, Imble to be ob^dted by (hotte wboln 
they are forced to tru^ with their aflhirft.bflK^ause tbej 
will Dot miad them themselves, and be abused by 
crafty ioei»> who w^tob the opportunities of their 
folly and weaknees^ to draw them into fooHsh baiv 
gaibs. It is an old Dbservation, that more men fie^ 
mh by intemperance th^s by the sword ; and I be** 
lieveit i$ as true, that Uiore estates are dissipated iand 
wasted by tliese two riotobs vices, than by ali other 
accidents whatsoiever. 

And there is scarce toy mytorioos vice, by wkkii 
men do not ^eatly stiRer in their reputation wo4 
-godd nainev even when the times are worst and mo6t 
dege%ieratei any wicked co«rr*e, whether of ide- 
baucfbery or injustice, is a blemish td ti mantis ere* 
dit, not only in the esteem of the sober and virtUoos, 
but evert of those who are loo^aod exfl^yagaist ; 
for men are 66t)ner bf ought to 'prapclfse what is bad^ 
than to approve of it, and do generally think all m^ 
and wickedneis to be a stain tipdn tlvfetD) ik^b«levfer 
in a swag^^eriHg humour they ibay day to the con- 
trary. A dear evidence of this is, that men d^ M 
studiously ^deavour to conceal thek* ncM, tmd Bte 
80 careful that ai9 few ais tiay be i4ouM ins ctm- 
«ciou8 to them» and ate a6 confounded if they be 
discovered, ^nd ^o otit of all patkikce when thejr 
«re upbraided withtbetA; a jllatil acktaowiedgmetlt 
that these things are shameM in themselves^ ktafl, 
whatever face men may put upofi things, that thejr 
do inwardly, and at the bottom of their hfeattsv be- 
lieve that these practices are tiesertedJy of bad n^ 
putation, and do, in the general o|mwii of BrnnkiMl, 
leave a blot upon Aem. 

Secondly, Thei'e are xrther sins, which, thoQgh 
they are not uisually afttendbd with ooM6^«k^Mi ao 



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palpably mtsdhie^ouB, yet lai^ plainly unprofitabtes 
and bring no manner of advantage to men. 

Of thiB aort is all kintl of profaneness, and cus- 
tomary swearing in cominan cotiv^sation ; there \U 
neither profit nor pleasare ib them. What doth the 
profane man get by his contempt of religion ? He 
is neither more respected, nor better trusted, for 
this quality ; but, on the contrary, it is many times 
really to bta prejudice, and brings a great odium 
upon him) not only from those who sincerely love 
religion, but from others also ; though they are con- 
scions to themselves that tfaey do not love religion 
as they ought, yet they have a veneration for it, 
and cannot endure that any one should speak 
vlightly of it. 

And it is as bard to imagine virhere the pleasure 
of profaneness lies. Men cannot but at first have a 
great reluctancy in their minds against it, and must 
offer considerable violence to themselves, to bring 
th^emselves to it ; and when it is grown more fatni- 
Hia*, and dieir consciences are become more seared 
Mvd insensible, yet, whenever they are alone and se- 
rious, or when any afiiiction or calamity is upon 
4hieit^ tfaey are fall of fears and anguish, their guilt 
istaveB them in the face, and their consciences atfe 
raging aad fivrions. 

And as ail kind of prfofaneness is unprofitable, so 
more especially castonKiry swearing in ordinary 
conversaition, upon every occasion of passion, or 
any other trivial cause; nay, it may be wichocrt 
cause, out of mere habit amd custom. Now Hvh«tt 
toan possibly be imagined to be tbe profit or plea- 
sure of this vice? Sensual pleasare in it there can 
4ie aone, because it is not founded in the temper ^f 
ili^body; a man may be'ftatarally prone to atigtfr 



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jor last; bnt no man, I tblDk, is born with a svre^r^ 
ing constitution. 

And there is as little profit as pleasure in it; for 
the common and trivial use of oaths makes them 
perfectly insignificant to their end, and is so far 
from giving credit to a man's word, that it rather 
weakens the reputation of it. 

Thirdly, Those vices which pretend to be of ad- 
vantage to us, when all accompts are cast up, and 
all circumstances duly considered, will be found to 
be quite otherwise. Some vices pretend to bring 
in profit, others to yield pleasure; but upon a tho- 
rough examination of the matter, these pretences 
will vanish and come to nothing. 

The vices which pretend to be most profitable are 
covetousuess and oppression, fraud and falsehood, 
and perfidiousness : but if we look well into them, 
we shall find, that either they do not bring the ad- 
vantages they pretend to bring, or that the incon^ 
veniences which attend them are as great, or greater 
than the advantages they bring; or else that the 
practice of the opposite virtues would be of much 
greater advantage to us. 

1. Some of these vices d6 not bring the advan- 
tages they pretend to do. Covetousness hiay in- 
crease a man's estate, but it adds nothing to his 
imppiness and contentment: for though bis estate 
grow never so much, his want is still as great as it 
was before, and his care and trouble continually 
greater ; so that so long as he continues covetous, 
the more rich, the less happy. 

And then, for fraud and falsehood ; they are not 
of that real and lasting advantage, that cunning but 
Abort-sighted men are apt to imagine. Nothing is 
truer than that of Solomon ; '' The lying tongue is 



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307 

but for a momeDf A man can practise the arts of 
falsehood and deceit but for a little while, before 
they will be discovered ; and when they are disco- 
vered, they are so far from being any advantage to 
him, that they turn to hi^ prejudice, and the cunning 
man begins to be in a bad case, and he that was 
wont to overreach others, is at last caught hiroseIC 

2. Several of these vices are attended with incon- 
veniences as great or greater than the advantages 
they bring. If a man increase his estate by injus- 
tice and oppression, yet he loseth his reputation. 
Besides that, all fraudulent and unjust courses are 
apt to entangle a man in a great many inconveni- 
ences, and to expose him to troublesome suits, for 
the keeping of what he hath unjustly gotten; it is 
very often seen, that what is gotten by injustice is 
spent in law ; and though it may be those whom he 
hath wronged never recover their right, yet first or 
last the unjust man is put to more trouble and vex- 
ation about it than the thing is worth. This Solo- 
mon observes : (Prov. xv. 6.) ** In the revenue of 
the wicked there is trouble." 

The perfidious man, by betraying a friend -or a 
trust, tnay, perhaps, make some present advantage: 
but then, by such villany, he makes himself odious 
to all mankind, and by this means, at one time or 
other, prevents himself of greater advantages which 
he might have had another way ; and, perhaps, at 
last, is miserably crushed by those whom he be^- 
trayed, who, in the change and revolution of human 
affisiirs, may, some time or other, have the opportu- 
irity of being revenged. Or else, 

3. The practice of the opposite virtues would be 
of far greater advantage to us. 

Truth and fidelity are in common experience 



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Ibuiid to be a better aiid surer way of thriving^ aii4 
more like to last and bold out tbao fraud and hia^ 
hood; and as honesty is a surer way of raising an 
estate, so it brings along with it greater seririty of 
the quiet enjoyment of it. There is never aoy real 
occasion, and seldom any colour and pretence^ al 
btiaging such a roan into trouble ; for which reasoa 
Solomon says, '* Better is the little which the righ- 
teous man hath, than great possessions without 
liglit :"* because, though it be but little, yet it will 
wear like steel, aud he is like to enjoy it qaietlf , 
aud may increase it; whereas the unjust maa it 
contiBually in danger of losing what he hath gotten. 

And if this be the case, it is very plain, that tbosa 
vices which pretend to bring tbe greatest advant^c^ 
are really unprofitable ; and to these kind ^ vices 
ibe text seems to point more particularly ; '^ If ^ay 
say, I have sinned, and perverted that which is right* 
and it profited uie aot," &c« 

But, perhaps, though there be lao profit in aiijr 
itinfiil course, yet there m^y be soiae plessare. That 
comes next to be examined ; and I tloubt not to make 
k evident, that there i$ no such pleasure in sii\ as 
scan Biak« it a reasonable temptation to any mta ta 
^venture upon it The Tices which pretead to biwc 
the greatest pleasure, are lewdness^ and iojtempe- 
ranee, and revenge. 

The two first of these are the highest prdtead^rii 
to pleasure : but God knovrs, aiMl the sinner hims^ 
knows, how (thin and transitory this pleasure is, h^w 
flinch trouble attends it, aod bow many mghs aad 
groans follow it ; and whatever pleasure they aiajr 
minister to the sense, they bring a great deal of an^ 
guish and perplexity to the mind ; so that the itrovi- 
bk which they oause does mane thaii ^eouatervail 



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the pleasara which they faring ; an4 th<^y do nol 
onFy disturb the raind, but they disease |be body. 
How maoy are there, who» for the gratifying of an 
inordinate iust^ and for the incomprehensible plea»- 
sure of a druoken fit,, have endured the violent 
burnings of a fever^ or else have consumed the re^ 
mainder of their days in laqguishuig sickness and 
pain? 

And the reason of all this is plain, because all 
the pleasures of sin are violent, and forced, and un<- 
natural, and therefore not like to continue ; tbey 
are founded in some 4i»6^^ ^^ distemper of 
our minds^ and therefore always end in pain ao4 
smart 

And as for revenge, it is indeed a very eager an4 
impatient desire : but so far surely from being ^ 
pleasure, that the very thoughts of it are extremely 
troublesome, and raise as great storms in the mind 
of a man, as any passion whatsoever; and I never 
heard of the pleasure of being in a storm ; it is pl^a* 
sant indeed to be out of it^ when others are in it. 
And when revenge hatb satisfied itself, and laid tt^ 
enemy bleeding at its foot, the man that eicecuted 
it commonly repents himself the next moment, and 
would give all the world to nndo what he bath 
done ; so that if there be any pleasure in revenge^ 
it is so flitting, and of so short a continuance, that 
we know not where to fix it ; for there is oething 
but tutoult and rage before the execution of it, ^ad 
after it nothing but remorse and horror ; so that if 
it be a pleasure, it is but of one moment's contiaM- 
anoe, and lasts no longer than the act is a-doing ; 
and what man in his wit^ would purchase so short 
a pleasure at so dear a price 1 This is most certainly 
true, and if it were well considered, sufficient to 



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convince any reasonable niJln of the lui reasonable^ 
ness . of this passion. 

Cain is a fearful instance of this kind, who, after 
he had drawn his brother into the fierd and slain 
him there, how was he torwented with the guilt of 
what he had done, and forced to cry out, " My 
punishment is greater than I can bear ;" or (as some 
translations render the words) " mine iniquity is 
greater than that it can be forgiven !" (Gen. fv. 13.) 
" From thy face (says he to God, in the anguish of 
his soul) shall I be hid, and: 1 shall be a fugitive 
and a vagabond in the earth ; and it shall come to 
pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me,'* 
(ver. 14.)." Every one that findeth me ;"how fearful, 
did his guilt make him ! when probably there was 
then but one man in the world besides himself. 
And' I may say of this sort of men as St. Jude 
does of those in his time, (Jude 11.) **Woe unto 
them ! for they have gone in the way of Cain f they 
are guilty of his crime, and his doom shall be theirs. 

And here I cannot but take notice of a great evfl 
that grows daily upon us, and therefore deserves 
with the greatest severity to be discountenanced 
and punished : I mean that of duels, than which 
what can be more unchristian ? And what can be 
more unreasonable, than for men, upon deliberation, 
and after the heat of passion is over, to resolve to 
sheath their swords in one another's bowels, only 
for a hasty word ? And, which is yet more unrea- 
sonable, that because two men are angry, and have 
quarrelled with one another, and will fight it out, that 
therefore two more, who have no quarrel, no kind 
of displeasure against one another, must fight too, 
and kill one another if they can, for no reason, and 
upon no provocation. These false rules of honour 



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trin not pass in another world, in the highest and 
greatest court of honour, from whence there is no 
appeal. 

I shall conclude this whole argument with that 
excellent saying of Cato> reported in A. Gelh'us r 
Cogitate emn animis vestris^ &c. " Consider (says 
he) with yourselves, if ye be at any trouble aiid pain 
to do a good action, the trouble will be soon over ; 
but the pleasure and comfort of what ye have done 
well^ abides with you all your days : but if, to gratify 
yourselves^ you do any thing that is wicked, the 
pleasure will quickly vanish ; but the guilt of it 
will stick by you for ever." 

And is it not then much better to prevent all thi;^ 
trouble, by denying ourselves these sinful pleasures, 
which will follow us with guilt whilst we live, and 
fill us with horror and despair when we come to 
die? 

I shaft now make some reflections upon what 
has been delivered, and so conclude. 

First, What has been said upon this argument 
ought particularly to move those who have so great 
a consideration of this present life, and the temporal 
happiness of it, that the practice of all virtues is a 
friend to their temporal, as well as eternal welfare, 
and all vice is an enemy to both. 

Secondly, This likewise takes off all manner of 
excuse from sin and vice. It pretends not to serve the 
soul, and to profit our future happiness in another 
world; and if it be an enemy also to our present wel- 
fare in this world, what is there to be said for it ? 

Thirdly, (which 1 desire to insist a little longer 
upon) all the arguments which I have used to con- 
Tince men of the folly of a wicked course, are so 
iDiany strong and unanswerable reasons for repent- 



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imc^ ) £or when w mi^E i» f ppyup^ed i^ hi Iiatb 
done fooliebly, and to his own prejudice, tha( 1)6 
hath sinned, and that it profited him not, what 
can he do less, than to be heartily aorry fqr it» ^nd 
ashamed of i^, and resoIve4 tq do better for the fu^ 
ture? Nothing surely is more reasonable (ban re* 
pentance ; and yet how bard \s i% tQ bripg men tq 
it ? Either men will mistake the pature of |t, an4 
not do it effectMally ; qr they will delay it, %nd QP(^ 
do it in time. 

I. Meq pii^taKa the n^tuF^ pf rppentmipe ; ^n^ 
there are two gr^ ^t mistaken 9\>p^% it. 

1. Of those who make the great fprca and. virtn^ 
pf it to consist, not qq caucb in (he re^Utipq ^f the 
penitent, as in the absolution of tb# priest. ^n4 
this tb^ chi3reb of Rome, in their doctrine conc^q** 
ing repentance^ does. Fpr tbf^ir sacrainent of f^ 
nance (as they call it) they make to consist of twp 
parts : the matter of it, which consists in these three 
acts of the penitent, confession, contritipn, and satis^ 
faction ; and the form of it, which is the absolution 
ofthepriestjq which they make the main virtue and 
forc^ of repentance to consist; In quq pracipw ipr 
^u$ vis sitc^ erif are the very wor4$ of the (^nnpil of 
Trent. 

And here is a wide diQerence betwixt |i^; for 
though the counfort of the penitent may, in some 
case, consist in the absolution o£ the priest^ yet tb^ 
virtue and efficacy of repentance does not at gll con*- 
sist in it, but wholly in the contrition and sincere 
resolution of the penitent, as the Scripture ev^ry 
where declares : and to think otberwisp ^^pf^dan- 
gerous consequence ; because it encourfigetif foeqi 
to hope for the benefit of repentance, th^ i^f th^ 
.pardon and forgiyeness pf their sm^ witbpvt^vi^ 



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313 

truly repented. And, indeed, the council of Trent 
have so framed their doctrines in this point, that 
any one may see, that they did not matter how much 
they abated on the part (# the penitent, provided 
the power of the priest be but advanced, and kept 
up iu its full height. 

8. The other mistake is of those who make re^ 
pentance to consist in the bare resolution of fimend* 
ment, though it never has its effect ; that is, though 
the sinner either do not what he resolved, or do it 
only for a fit, and during his present trouble and 
conviction. 

There is one case indeed, and but one, wherein a 
resolution not brought to effect is available, and 
that is, when nothing hinders the performance and 
execution of it, but only want of time and oppor- 
tunity for it, when the repentance is sincere, and the 
resolution real, but the man is cut off between the 
actual reformation which he intended, and which 
God, who sees things certainly in their causes, knows 
would have followed, if the man had lived to give 
demonstration of it. But this is nothing to those 
who have the opportunity to make good their re- 
solution, and do not; for, because the resolution 
which would have been performed, had there been 
time and opportunity, is reckoned for a true repent- 
ance, and accepted of God, as if it had been done; 
therefore the resolution which was not brought to 
effect when there was time and opportunity for it, 
hath not the nature of true repentance, nor will it 
be accepted of God. 

I will add but one thing more upon this bead, be- 
cause I <4^u^t it is not always sufficiently consi- 
dered ; and that is this, that a sincere resolution of 
a better course, does imply a resolution of the 

VOL. VII. y 



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314 

means, as well as of the end : be that is trulj t^ 
solved against any sin, is likewise resolved against 
the occasions and temptations that would lead and 
flraw him to it ; otherwifc he hath taken up a rash 
and fpolish resolution, which he is not like to keep, 
because he did not resolve upon that which was 
necessary to the keeping of it. So he that resolves 
upon any part of his duty, must likewise resolve 
upon the means which are necessary to the discbarge 
and performance of it ; he that is resolved to be just 
in his dealing, and to pay his debts, must be dili<» 
gent in his calling, and mind his business ; because 
without this he cannot do the other ; for nothing can 
be more vain and fond, than for a man to pretend 
that be is resolved upon doing his duty, when he 
seglects any thing that is necessary to put him into 
a capacity, and to further him in the discharge of 
it. This is as if a man should resolve to be well, 
and yet never take physic, or be careless in observ* 
ing the rules which are prescribed in order to his 
health. So, for a man to resolve against drunken- 
ness, and yet to run himself upon the temptations 
which naturally lead to it, by frequenting jthe com- 
pany of lewd and intemperate persons, this is as if a 
man should resolve against the plague, and run ipto 
the pest-house. Whatever can reasonably move a 
man to be resolved upon any end, will, if his resolu- 
tion be wise and honest, determine him as strongly 
to use the means which are proper and necessary 
to that end. 

These are the common mistakes about this mat* 
teiT,. which men are the more willing to run into, 
because they are loath to be brought to a true re^ 
pentauce, the nature whereof is not difficult to be 
understood (for nothing in the world is plainer)^ 



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only men are always slow to understand what they 
have no mind to put in practice. But, 

If. Besides these mistakes about repentance^ 
there is another great miscarriage in this matter, 
and that is, the delay of repentance ; men are loath 
to set about it, and therefore they put it upon thfe 
last hazard, and resolve then to huddle it i^p as 
well as they can ; but this certainly is great folly, 
to be still making more work for repentance, bj^ 
cause it is to create so much needless trouble and 
Texation to ourselves: it is to go on still in playing 
a foolish part, in hopes to retrieve all by an after- 
game; this is extremely dangerous, because we 
may certainly sin, but it is not certaiii we shall re^ 
pent; our repentance may be prevented, ^aiid we 
may be cut off in our sins ; but if we should have 
space for it, repentance may, in process of time, 
grow a hundred times more difficult than it is at 
present. 

But if it were much more certain and more easy 
thsrn it is, if it were nothing but a hearty sorrow and 
sbame for our sins, and an asking God forgiveness 
for them, without being put to the trouble of re- 
forming our wicked lives, yet this were great folly, 
to do those things which will certainly grieve us 
after we have done them, and put us to shame, and 
to ask forgiveness for them. It was well said of 
old Cato, JfiB tu stultus es homuncioj qui maUs veniam 
precari^ quam nan peccare; "Thou art a foolish 
inan indeed, who choos^st rather to a6k forgiveness 
than not to offend." 

At the best, repentance implies a fault ; it is an 
after-wisdom, which supposeth a man first to have 
played the fool ; it is but the best end of a bad 
business ; a hard shift, and a desperate hazard, whicli 

y2 



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516 

.a man that had acted prudently would never have 
been put to ; it is a plaster after we have danger* 
ously wounded ourselves: but certainly it bad been 
much wiser to have prevented the danger of the 
wound, and the pain of curing it. 'A wise man 
would not make himself sick if he could ; or if he 
were already so, would not make himself sicker^ 
though he had the most effectual and infallible re- 
medy in the world in his power : but this is not the 
case of a sinner, for repentance as well as faith is 
the gift of God. 

Above all, let me caution you not to put off this 
great and necessary work to the most unseasonable 
time of all other, the time of sickness and death, upon 
a fond presumption, that you can be reconciled to 
God when you please, and exercise such a repent* 
ance as will make your peace with him at any time. 

I am heartily afraid that a very great part of 
mankind do miscarry upon this confidence, and are 
swallowed up in the gulf of eternal perdition with 
this plank in their arms. The common custom is 
(and I fear it is too common), when the physician 
has given over his patient, then, and not till then, 
to send for the minister; not so much to inquire 
into the man 8 condition, and to give him suitable 
advice, as to minister comfort, and to speak peace 
to him at a venture. 

But let me tell you, that herein you put an ex- 
treme difficult task upon us, in expecting that we 
ahould pour wine and oil into the wound before it 
be searched, and speak smooth and comfortable 
things to a man that is but just brought to a sense 
of the long course of a lewd and wicked life im- 
penitently continued in. Alas! what comfort cao 
we give to n>en in such a case T We are loi|th to 



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drive them to despair, and yet we most not destroy 
them by presumptioo; pity and good-nature do 
strongly tempt us to make the best of their case, 
and to give them all the little hopes which with any 
kind of reason we can, and God knows it is but 
Tery little that we can give to such persons, upon 
good ground ; for it all depends upon the degree 
and sincerity of their repentance, which God only 
knows, and we can but guess at. We can easily 
tell them what they ought to have done, and what 
they should do if they were to live longer, and what 
is the best that they can do in those straits into' 
which they have brought themselves; viz. to exei^ 
cise as deep a sorrow and repentance for their sins 
as is possible, and ** to cry mightily to God** for 
mercy, in and through the merit of our blessed Sa^ 
Tiour. But how far this will be available in these 
circumstances we cannot tell ; because we do not 
know whether, if the man had lived longer,^thi8 re^ 
pentance and these resolutions, which he now de«* 
dares of a better course, would have been good. 

And after all is done that can be done in so short 
a time, and in such circumstances of confusion and 
diisorder as commonly attend dying persons, I 
doubt the result of all will be this : that there is 
much more ground of fear than hope concerning 
them; nay, perhaps, while we are pressing the 
dying sinner to repentance, and he is bungling 
about it, he expires, in great doubt and perplexity 
of mind, what will become of him ! or, if his eyes be 
closed with more comfortable hopes of his condi- 
tion, the next time he opens them again he may find 
his fearful mistake, like the rich man in the parable, 
who, when he was in hell, ** lifted up his eyes, being 
in torment!*' 



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Thid is a very dismal and melancholy cousidera- 
tTop, and commands all men presently to repent, 
and not to put off the main work of their lives to 
the end ofthem, and the time of sickness and old 
age. Let ns not offer up a carcass to God instead 
of a living and acceptable sacriOce : but let us turn 
to God in the days of our health and strengtJi, '' be- 
fore the evil days come, and the years draw nigh, 
of which we shall say we have no pleasure in them ; 
before the sun, and the moon, and the stars be 
darkened,"* as Solomon elegantly expresseth it, 
(Eccles. xi\. 1, 2.) before all the comforts of life be 
gone, before our faculties be all ceased and spent^ 
before our understandings be too weak, and our 
wills too strong ; our understandings be too weak 
for consideration and the deliberate exercise of re* 
pentance, and our wills too strong and stiff to be 
bent and bowed to it. 

Let .us not deceive ourselves; heaven is not a 
hospital made to receive all sick and aged persons 
that can but put up a faint request to be admitted 
there; no, no, they are never like to '^see the king- 
dom of Grod,"* who, instead of '' seeking it in the 
$rst place,** make it their '^ last refuge and retreat f 
and when they find the sentence of death upon 
them, only to avoid present execution, do bethink 
themselves of getting to heaven, and, since there is 
no other remedy, are contented to petition the great 
King and Judge of the world, that they may be 
transported thither. 

Upon all these considerations, let us use no delay 
jn a matter of such mighty consequence to our 
eternal happiness, but let the counsel which was 
given to Nebuchadnezzar be acceptable to us ; let 
us *' break off our sins by righteousness, and our 



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319 

iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if so be it 
may be a lengthening of our tranquillity." Repent- 
ance and alms do well together ; let us ** break off 
our sins by righteousness, and our iniquities by 
shewing mercy to the poor;" especially upon this 
great occasion, which his Majesty's great goodness 
to those distressed strangers, that have taken sanc- 
tuary among us, hath lately presented us withal, 
** remembering that we also are in the body," and 
liable to the like sufferings ; and considering, on the 
one hand, that gracious promise of our Lord, ^' Bless- 
ed are the merciful, for they shall receive inercy ;•* 
and, on the other hand, that terrible threatening in 
St James, '' He shall have judgment without mercy, 
that hath shewed no mercy." • 

To conclude, from all that hath been said, let us 
take up a present resolution of a better course, and 
enter immediately upon it, '^ to-day, whilst it is 
called to-day, lest any of you be hardened through 
the deceitfulness of sin. O that men were wise, 
that they understood this, that they would consider 
their latter end ! — And grant, we beseech thee. Al- 
mighty God, that we may al) know and do, in this 
^ur day, the things which belong to our peace, for 
thy mercy's sake in Jesus^ Christ ; to whom, with 
thee, O Father, and the Holy Ghost, be all honour 
find glory, now and for ever. Amen." 



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SERMON CLXII. 

THE 8HAMEFULNESS OP SIN, AN ARGUMENT FOR 
REPENTANCE. 

What fruit had ye then in those things, whereof ye 
are now ashamed? For the end of those things is 
death. But now being made free from sin, and 
become servants to God^ ye have your fruit unto 
holiness, and the end everlasting life. — RoM.vi. 

21, 22. 

* 

There are two passions which do always, m some 
degree or other, accompany a true repentance ; viz. 
sorrow and shame for our sins ; because these are 
necessary to engage men to a resolution of making 
that change wherein repentance does consist : for 
till we are heartily sorry for what we have done, 
and ashamed of the evil of it, it is not likely that 
we should ever come to a firm and steady purpose 
of forsaking our evil ways, and betaking ourselves 
to a better course. 

And these two passions, of sorrow and shame for 
our sins, were wont anciently to be signified by 
those outward expressions of humiliation and re- 
pentance, which we find so frequently mentioned 
in Scripture, of being clothed in sackcloth, as a 
testimony of our sorrow and mourning for our sins, 
and of" being sprinkled upon the head, and covered 
over with filth and dirt, and dust and ashes,** in 
token of our shame and confusion efface for all our 
iniquities and transgressions. Hence are those ex* 



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^reisioDs in Scripture of repenting in sackcloth 
and ashes, of lying down in our shame, and being 
covered with confusion, in token of their great sor* 
row and shame for the manifold and heinous sins 
which they have been guilty of. 

Of the former of these, viz. trouble and sorrow 
for our sins, I have very lately treated ; * and of 
the latter, I intend now^ by God's assistance, to 
speak, viz. shame for our sins, and that from these 
words which I have recited to you : ** What fruit 
had ye then in those things?** &c. In which vrords 
the apostle makes a comparison between a holy 
and virtuous, and a sinful and vicious, course of life, 
and sets before us a perfect enumeration of the ma- 
nifest inconveniences of the one, and the manifold 
advantages of the other. 

First, The manifest inconveniences of a vicious 
and sinful course ; and the apostle mentions these 
three: 

I. It is unprofitable, it brings no manner of pre* 
sent benefit and advantage to us, if all things be 
rightly calculated and considered. "What* fruit 
had ye then in those things T* ** Then," (t. e.) at the 
time when you committed those sins, had you any 
present advantage by them? Mo, certainly; but 
quite contrary. 

IL The reflection upon our sins afterwards is 
cause of shame and confusion to us ; ** What fruit 
bad ye then in those things, whereof ye are now 
ashamed?" 

II L The final issue and consequence of these 
Ihings is very dismal and miserable ; " The end of 
Ihose things is death." Let us put these things to- 

« See Sermon CLX. p. 281. 



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322 

gether, and eee what they amoiHit to.-^No fruit 
then when ye did these things, and shame now 
when ye come afterwards to reflect upon them» and 
death and misery at the last. 

Secondly, Here is likewise, on the other hand» 
represented to us the manifold benefits of a holy and 
Tirtuous life. And that upon these two accounts : 

I. Of the present benefit of it, which the apostle 
calls here fruit : ^* Ye have your fruit unto holiness.'' 

IL In respect of the future reward of it : *^And 
the end everlasting life.'* Here is a considerable 
earnest in hand, and a mighty recompence after- 
wards, infinitely beyond the proportion of our best 
actions and services, both in respect of the great- 
ness and the duration of it, '^ everlasting life ;" for a 
few transient and very imperfect actions of obedi- 
ence, a perfect, and immutable, and endless state of 
happiness. I shall begin with the 

First of the two general heads ; viz. The manifest 
inconveniences of a sinful and vicious course ; and 
the apostle, I told you in the text, takes notice of 
threes 

J. It is unprofitable, and if all things be rightly 
calculated and considered, it brings no manner of 
present advantage and benefit to us. ** What fruit 
had ye then in those things ?" " Then," (t. e.) when ye 
committed those sins, had you any present advan- 
tage by them ? No, certainly, quite the contrary ; 
as if the apostle had said. If yon smonsly reflect 
upon your former course of impiety and sin, wherein 
you have continued so long, you cannot l>ut ac- 
knowledge that it brought no manner of advantage 
to you; and when all accounts are truly cast up, 
you must, if you will confess the truth, own, that 
you were in no sort gainers by it : for the words are a 



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32S 

^tfftiHTK, and the apostle plainly intends more ihan .he 
expressetb, ^'What fruit had ye then in tbost 
things?'* (i.e.) The wicked course which ye forr 
rnerly lived in was so far from being any ways4>€^ 
neficial to you, that it was, on the contrary, upon 
all accounts extremely to your prejudice and dis- 
advantage. 

And this is not only trae in respect of the final 
issue and consequence of a sinfiil and vicious course 
of life, that no man is a gainer by it at the long run ; 
and if we take into our consideration another world, 
and the dreadful and endless misery which a wicked 
and impenitent life will then plunge men into 
(which, in the farther handlingof this text, will at 
large be spoken to, being the last of the three parti- 
culars under this first general head); but it is true 
likewise, even in respect of this world, and with re« 
gard only to this present and temporal life, without 
looking so far as the future recompence and punish^ 
ment of sin in another world. 

And this would plainly appear, by an induction 
of these three particulars : 

1. It is evident that some sins are plainly mick 
chievous to the temporal interest of men, as tendings 
either to the disturbance of their minds, or the en- 
dangering of their health and lives, or to the prejuo* 
dice of their estates, or the blasting of them in their 
reputation and good name. 

3. That there are other sins, which, though they 
are not so visibly burdened and attended with mis- 
chievous consequences, yet they are plainly unpro- 
fitable, and bring no manner of real advantage to 
men, either in respect of gain or pleasure; 4giuch are 
the sins of profaneness and customary swearing 19 
common conversation. 



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3. l*hat ereo those sins 9ud viceii which make 
the fairest pretence to be of advantage to us, when 
all accounts are cast up, and all circumstances duly 
weiehed and considered, will be found to be^ but 
pretenders, and in no degree able to perform and 
make good what they so largely promise before- 
hand, when they tempt us to the commission of 
them. There are some vices which pretend to 
bring in great profit, and tempt worldly-minded 
men, whose minds are disposed to catch at that 
bait ; such are the sins of covetousness and oppres- 
sion, of fraud, and falsehood, and perfidiousness* 
And there are others which pretend to bring plea- 
sore along with them, which is almost an irresistible 
temptation to voluptuous and sensual men ; such 
are the sins of revenge, and intemperance, and lust. 
But, upon a particular exs^mination of each of these» 
it will evidently appear, that there is no such profit 
or pleasure in any of these vices as can be a reason- 
able temptation to any man to fall in love with tbem, 
and to engage in the commission and practice of 
them. But I shall not now enlarge upon any of 
these, having lately discourised upon them from 
another text. I shall therefore proceed to the 

II. Second inconvenience which I mentioned of a 
sinful and vicious course; viz. that the reflection 
upon our sin^^ afterwards, is cause of great shame 
and confusion to us. '' What fruit had you then in 
those things, whereof ye are now ashamed ?*' And 
this is a very proper argument for this season ; * be- 
cause the passion of shame, as it is a natural and 
useful consequent of sin, so it is a disposition ne* 
cessarily required to a true repentance. 



* Prt ached in Lent 



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325 

Most men when they commit a known fanlt are 
apt to be ashamed, and ready to blush whenever 
they are put in mind of it, and charged with it. 
Some persons, indeed, have gone so far in sin, and 
have waded so deep in a vicioos course, as to be con* 
firmed and hardened in their wickedness to that de^ 
gree, as to be past all shame, and almost all sense 
of their faults ; especially in regard of the more com* 
roon and ordinary vices, which are in vogue and 
fashion ; and in the commission whereof they are 
countenanced and encouraged by company and ex- 
ample. Such were those of whom the prophet 
speaks, (Jer. vi. 15.) '* Were they ashamed, when 
they had committed abomination ? nay, they were 
uot ashamed, neither could they blush." 

But yet even these persons, when tliey come to 
be sensible of their guilty so as to be brought to re- 
pentance, they cannot then but be ashamed of what 
they have done. For what face soever men may 
set upon their vices, sin is shameful in itself, and so 
apt to fill men with confusion of face, when they 
serionsly reflect upon it, that they cannot harden 
their foreheads against all seifse of shame. And 
whatever men may declare to the contrary, this is 
tacitly acknowledged by the generality of men, in 
that they are so solicitous and careful to conceal 
their faults from the eyes of others, and to keep 
them as secret as they can ; and whenever they are 
discovered and laid open, it is matter of great trou- 
ble and confusion to them, and if any one happen to 
upbraid and twit them with their miscarriages of 
any kind, they cannot bear with patience to hear of 
them. 

There are, indeed, some few such prodigies ami 
mooaters of men, as are able, after great stragglings 



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326 

with tbeir consciences, to force themselves to boast 
impudetitly of their wickedness, and ** to glory in 
their shame (* not because they do really and in- 
wardly believe their vices to be a boooar and 
glory to them; but because, conscious to themt 
selves that they have done shameful things, and 
believing that others know it, they put on a whore's 
forehead, and think to prevent the upbraiding of 
others, by owning what they have done, and seem* 
ing to glory in it: but yet for all that, these per- 
sons, if they would confess the truth, do feel some 
confusion in themselves, and they are inwardly sen- 
sible of the infamy and reproach of such actions^ 
for all they would seem to the world to bear it cot 
so well : for when all is done, there is a wide differ* 
ence between the impudence of a criminal, and the 
confidence and assurance of a clear conscience, that 
is fully satisfied of its own innocence and integrityt 
The conscientious man is not ashamed of any thing 
that he hath done : but the impudent sinner only 
seems not to be so, but all the while feels a great 
deal of confusion in his own mind. The one is sen- 
sible and satisfied that there is no cause for shame ; 
the other is conscious to himself that there is causey 
but he offers violence to himself, and suppresses all 
he can the sense and show of it, ^nd will needs fiiee 
down the world, that he hath no guilt and regret in 
his own mind for any thing that he hath done. 

Now that sin is truly matter of shame, will be very 
evident, if we consider these two things : 

Firsts If we consider the nature of this passion of 
ahame. 

Secondly, If we consider what there is ia sin 
which gives real ground and occasion for it. 

First, For the nature of this passiooi Shame is 



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327 

the troable or confusion of mind, occastoned by 
something that tends to oor disgraee and dishonour, 
to our infamy and reproach. Now there is nothing 
truly and really matter of shame and reproach to 
us, but what we ourselves have done, or have been 
some way or other accessary to the doing of, by our 
own fault or neglect, and by consequence what it 
was in our power and choice not to have done : for 
no man is ashamed of what be is sure he could not 
help. Necessity, unless it be wilful and contracted, 
and happens through some precedent occasion and 
fault of our own, does take away all just cause of 
shame. 

And nothing likewise is matter of shame, but 
something which we ought not to do, which misbe- 
comes us, and is below the dignity and perfectioit 
of our nature, and is against some duty and obltga^ 
tion that is upon us to tlie contrary; and, conse- 
quently, is a reproach to our reason and under* 
standing, a reflection upon our prudence and discre-^ 
tion, and at first sight hath an appearance of rug'^ 
gedness apd deformity. 

And all actions of this nature do receive several 
aggravations with respect to the persons againsl 
whom, ^nd in whose presence, and under whose 
eye and knowledge, these shameful things are done« 
Now I shall shew, in the 

Second place, that sin contains in it whatsoever 
is justly accounted infamous, together with all the 
a^ravations of shame and reproach Uiat can be 
imagined. And this will appear by considering sia 
and vice in these two respects : 

I. In relation to ourselves. 

IL In respect toGod, against whom, and in whose 
aigbt,^ it is committed. 



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528 

I. In relation to ourselves, there are these four 
thing^s which make sin and vice to be very shame- 
fol: 

1. The natural ruggedness and deformity of it. 

2. That it is so great a dishonour to our nature, 
and to the dignity and excellency of our being. 

3. That it is so great a reproach to our reason and 
understanding, and so foul a reflection upon our 
prudence and discretion. 

4. That it is our own voluntary act and choice. 
Every one of these considerations render it very 

ihameful, and all of them together ought to fill the 
sinner with confusion of face. I shall speak to them 
severally. 

1. The natural ruggedness and deformity of sin 
and vice render it very shameful. Men are apt to 
be ashamed of any thing in them^ or belonging to 
them, that looks ugly and monstrous, and therefore 
they endeavour with great care and art to conceal 
and dissemble their deformity in any kind. How 
strangely do we see men concerned, with all their 
diligence and skill, to cover and palliate any defect 
or deformity in their bodies ; an ill face, if they 
could ; however, a foul and bad complexion, or a 
blind squinting eye, a crooked body, or limb, or 
whatever is ill-favoured or monstrous. Now, in re- 
gard of our souls and better part, sin hath all the 
monstrousness and deformity in it which we can 
imagine in the body, and much more : and it is as 
hard to be covered from the eye of discerning men, 
as the deformity of the body is ; but impossible to 
be concealed from the eye of God, to whom dark- 
ness and light, secret and open, are all one. But 
then the moral defects and deformities of the mind 
have this advantage above the natural defects and 



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defaniiUie$ of the body, that the former are poi- 
BibJe to be cured by the graqe of God, in cod- 
juQction with our own care and endeavour; where- 
as, no diligence or skill can ever help or remove 
many of the natural defects and deformities of the 
body. 

Sin is the blindness of our minds, the perverse- 
ness and crookedness of our wills, and the mon- 
strous irregularity and disorder of our affections 
and •appetites; it is the misplacing of our powers 
and faculties, the setting of our wills and passions 
above our reason ; all which is ugly and unnatural ; 
and if we were truly sensible of it, matter of grea^t 
shame and xeproach to us. / 

There is hardly any vice but at first sight hath an* 
odious and ugly appearance to a well-disciplined 
and innocent mind, that hath never had any ac- 
quaintance with it. ; And however familiarity and 
custom may abate the sense of its deformity, yet it 
is as it was before, and the change that is made in 
us does not alter the nature of the thing. Drunk- 
enness and furious passion, pride and falsehood, 
covetousness and crueltyi are odious, and matter of 
shame, in the sincere and unoorrupted opinion of 
all mankind. And though a man, by the frequent 
practice of any of these vices, and a long familiarity 
with them, may not be so sensible of the deformity 
of them in himself, yet he quickly discerns the ugi- 
liness of them in others, whenever they come in his 
way, and could with salt and sharpness enough vpr 
braid those whom be sees guilty of them, but that 
he is inwardly conscious, that the reproach may be 
so easily returned and thrown back upon himself. 
However, this is a natural acknowledgment of the 
deformity and shamefulness of sin and vice. . 

VOL. VII. z 



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530 

3. They are fike^e 8haiiiefti)v !beoao6^ th^ at% 
«o greata dishonour to oor nfttore, tiod <to tfaetM^ 
Bky and excellency of our being. We go below 
oarselves, and act beneath rtie<fignity of^ttr na- 
ture, when we do any thing contrary to thte rnteb 
and laws of it, or to the revealed will of God ; be- 
causethese are the bounds and limits which God and 
iiai;ur^ Ivath set to human actions; mid are the mea^ 
'Bures of odr duty ; t. e. w)iat ift fit^od becoming for 
us to do, and what not. So that all sin and vfee is 
base and unworthy, and beneath the dignity of our 
^nature; it argues a corrupt and diseased consttftntton 
and habitt)f mind, a crooked and perverse disposition 
of will, and a sordid and mean tentper of spirit. « 

And therefor^ the Scripture doth frequently re- 
present a state of sfn and wickedness^ by that whicfi 
is accounted the basest and meatiest condition 
among men, by a state of servitude and slavery, es- 
pecially if it had been our choice, or the evident and 
liecessary consequence of our wtlftil fault : fbr,we 
tIo as bad as choose it, when we wilfully bring it 
npon ourselves. So that to be a sinner, is to be a 
slave to some vile lust, appetite, or passioii, to some 
unnatural or irregular desire; it is to sell ourselves 
into bondage, and to part with one of the most valu- 
able things in the world, our liberty, upon low and 
unworthy terms. Such a state and condition does 
unavoidably debase and debauch our minds, and 
break the force and firmness of our spirits, and robs 
tts, as Delilah did Sampson, of our strength and 
courage, of our resolution and constancy ; so that 
men have not the heart left to design^and endeavour 
in good earnest their own rescue out of this mean 
and miserable estate, into which, by their own folly 
and fault, they have brought themselves. 



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331 

When men %t^ edgaeed ii»to a ^astom of Juonkig» 
indbave habituated tbeoiAeWes toaoy vicious course^ 
how do they betray their weakueas* aud want of re- 
solution, by being at the beck of every: foolish lust, 
Mftd by sufferifiig themselves to be coimiiaiided and 
hurried away by every unruly appetite and passion, 
to do things which they know to be greatly to iheir 
hBrin and pi'ejfidice^ and which they are convinced 
are fiiean and sordid things, and such as they are 
asimraed that any wise oiian should see them doing 1 
And there is no greater argument of a pitiful and de- 
generate spirit, than to commit such things as a man 
would blush to be surprised in, and would bemight* 
ily troubled to hear of afterwards. And, which is 
more, after be hath been convinced by manifold ex- 
perience, that they are a shame and disgrace to him, 
imd make him bang down his head, and let fall, his 
countenance, whenever he is in better company than 
bimaelf ; yet after this to go and do the same things 
a^in, which he is sensible are so shamefiil, and to 
be so impotent, and to have so little command of 
inmself, as not to be able to free himself from tbis 
bondage, nor the heart to pray to God that by his 
grace he would enable him hereto. 

And that sin is of this shameful nature is evident, 
in that the greatest part of sinners take so much 
care and pains to hide their vices from the sight and 
notice of men, and to this purpose choose darkness 
nod secret places of retirement to commit their sins 
ID. The apostle tekes notice,<that thus much mo*^ 
desty was lefl, even in a vety wicked and d^enerate 
age: (1 Thcss. v. 7.) '' Tbey that be drunk (says he) 
arejdnmfc in the nigbt." Now aU this is a plain ac** 
Jcnowledgniettt, that sin is a spurious and degenerate 
Ahiog, that 14 nisbecMMS human nature, andis be- 

z 2 



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l^w tbt dignity of a feasoDable creature ; other^ 
vrise, why shoold men be so solicitous and concerned 
to cover their faults from the sight of others? if 
they are not ashamed of thera, why do they not 
bring them into the broad tight, and shew them 
openly^-if they think they will endure it ? 

So true is that observation which Plato makes-^ 
That though a man were sure that God would for* 
give his sins, and that men should never know them^i 
yet there is that baseness in sio^ that a wise mao^ 
that considers what it is, would blush to himself 
alone to be guilty of it; and though he were not 
afraid of the punishment, would be ashamed of the 
turpitude ami deformity of it. 

Did but a man consider seriously with himself 
how mean and unmanly it is for a man to be drunk ; 
and what an apish and ridiculous thing he renders 
himself to all sober men that behold him, and with 
what contempt and scorn they entertsdn such a 
sight; and how brutish it is to wallow in any unlaw- 
ful lust, and how UHich a man descends and stoops 
beneath himself: what shameful fear and cowardice 
he betrays when be is frighted to tell a lie out of 
fear, or tempted thereto for some little advantage ; 
and yet is so inconsistent with himself, as to have^ 
or to. pretend to have, the courage to fight any man 
that shall tell him so saucy a truth, as that he told 
a lie. 

Would but a man think beforehand, bow unworn 
thy and how unequal a thing it is to defraud or 
cheat his brother, or to do any thing to another mam 
which be would be loath, in the like case, that he 
should do to him ; how base a thing it is for a man 
to be perfidious and false to his promise or trusty 
how monstrous io be unthankful to one that hatti 



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333 

highly oUiged him, and every way and upOD all 
occasions deserved well at his hands; and so I 
might instance in all other sorts of sins: I say, he 
that considers this well and wisely, though there 
were no law against sin, and (if it were a possible 
case, and fit to be supposed) though there were no 
such being as God in the world, to call him to ac- 
count and punish him for it, yet, out of mere gene- 
rosity and greatness of mind, out of pure respect to 
himself, and the dignity and rank of his being,, and 
of his order in the world, out of very reverence to 
human nature, and the inward persuasion of bis own 
mind (however he came by that persuasion) con- 
cerning the indecency, and deformity, and shameful- 
Bess of the thing ; I say, for these reasons, if there 
were no other, a man would strive with himself, 
with all his might, to refrain from jsin and vice, and 
not only blush, but abhor to think of doing a wicked 
ac^on^ 

3. Sin will yet farther appear shameful, in that it 
is so great a reproaqb to our understapdings and 
reasons, and so foul a blot upon our prudence and 
discretion. Omnis pecccms out ignorans est^ aut in^ 
eogitoMSf \9 a saying, I think, of one of the school- 
men (as one would gjuiess by the Latin of it); 
** Every sinne^is either an ignorant or an inconside^ 
rate person." Either men do not understand what 
they do, when they commit sin; or if they do know, 
they^ do not actually attend to and consider what 
th^y know. JSither they are habitually or actually 
ignorant of what they do ; for sin and coosideriatioa 
cannot dwell together; it is so very unreasonable and 
absurd a thing, that it requires either gross ignor 
ranqe, or stupid inadvertency, to make a man capa- 
ble of committing it. Whenever a man sins, he must 



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534 

ddier be destitute of reason, or must lay it aside or 
asleep for the time^ and so suflfer himself to be hof^ 
Tied away, and to act briitishly, as if he had no nn^ 
derstandlpg. 

iKd but men attentively consider what it is to 
offend God, and to break the laws of that great Law* 
giver, who ^^ is atble to save or to destroy," they 
wotiTd discern so many invincible objections againsC 
the thing, and would be filled with snch strong fears 
and jealousies of the fatal issue and event of it, thaf 
they would not dare to venture upon it. And there- 
fore we find the Scripture so frequently resolving 
the wickedness of men into their ignorance and inr 
considerateness. (Psal. xrv. 4.) " Have all the workr 
ers of fniquhy no knowledge?** Intimating that by 
their actions one would judge so. iind the same 
account God himself also gives elsewhere of the fre* 
quent disobedience and rebellion of the people of 
Israel : (Dent, j^xxii. 28, ^9.) ^' They are a natioi^ 
void of counsel, neither is there any understanding 
jn them. O I that they were wise, that they under^ 
stood this, that they would consider their latter 
end !** Knowledge and consideration wrould cure a 
great part of the wickedness that is in the world; 
inen would not commit sin with so much greediness 
would they but take time to consider and bethinl^ 
themselves what they do. 

Have we not reason then to be ashamed of siR, 
trhich casts such a reproach of ignorance and rash^ 
ness upon us? and of imprudence, likewise, and in- 
discretion ? since nothing can be more directly and 
plainly^^inst pur greatest and best interest, both of 
body and soul, both here and hereafter, both now 
and to all (Eternity. And there is nothing that men 
^re ipore ashaimef} pf, thap to be guilty of so great 



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335' 

an improdeoAe, f«.t(a aiOt ch^rly ^gaiasttb^r own 
iolerefl^ ta wbich sici is tbetiioai pkinly crass and 
contrary that it is possible for any thipg to be. No 
ipaa can engage aod cootiuue in ^ sinfal course,, 
witfapat being so &r abused and ia&taated» as to be 
contented to part with everlasting happiness, apd to 
be undone and miserable for ever ; none but b^ that 
oan persuade himself against all the reason ^nd sense 
of mankind^ that there is pleasure enough in the 
tranjsient acta of sin to make amends for eternal 
SQrrow, and shame^ and sufierijiig. And can such 
a thojight as this enter into the heart of a considerate 
0090? Epicurus was so wise^ as to conclude agaiwt, 
9JI pleasures tbajt would give a naan more: trouble^ 
and distiKb^iQce afterward^; against Ml pJeasurea 
that had pain and grief opnsfquent upon them; 
and be forbids bi^ wise man to taste. of tb<>m, or ta 
meddle vitb them ; and had he believed any thin^ 
of a futaxe sta(tQ« he miist» according to his principle, 
have pronounced it the greatest folly that could be, 
for aiiiy man to purch^vae the pleasures and hc^ppines* 
of 1^ fow years, at the dear rate of eteraal misery an4 
torment. So that, if it be a disgrace to ^ man to act 
imprudently^ «im1 to do things plainly agaiast his 
interest^ then vicei is the grefftest r^sireaoh that m 
posaibJe.' 

The 4tfa apd last oonaideralioA, which renders 
sin so ^h^meful to us, is, that it is o«r own vQlttntarjr 
9ct and cboioe. We choose this disgrace^ and wilK 
ingly bring this roproacfa upon ourselfea« We pity 
»n idiot, and ene tkat if naturally destitute of nndeiv 
standing,, or on^ that loseth the use of his reaeon by 
^ disease or other i|ievitableacoident : but every one 
despipeth him wfao^ b^ots iiimsel^ imd plays the 
fpol out of careleqwBWssand agross n«glect of faiisselC 



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33fr 

And this is the case of a sinner ; there isnaman 
that sixineth, but because he is Hvanting to himself; 
he might be wiser and do better, and will not; but he 
chooses his own devices, and voluntarily runs hiiq- 
sdf upon those inconveniencies, which it was in his 
power to have avoided. 

Not but that I do heartily own and IsAnent the 
great corruption and degeneracy of our nature, an ^ 
the strong propensions which appear so early in us 
to that which is evil ; but God hath provided ^ re- 
medy and cure for all this : for since ^' the grace of 
God which brings salvation unto all men hath ap- 
peared," under the influence and through the assist- 
ance of that grace which is offered to them by the 
gospel, men may *^ dcfny ungodliness and worldly 
lusts, and live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this 
present world.'' For I make no doubt, but since 
God has entered into a new covenant of grace with 
mankind, and offered new terms of life and salva- 
tion to us ; I say, 1 doubt not but his grace is ready 
at hand, to enable us to perform all those condi- 
tions which he requires of us, if we be not wanting 
to ourselves. 

There was a way of salvation established, before 
the gospel was clearly revealed to the world ; and 
they who, under that dispensation, whether Jews 
or gentiles, sincerely endeavoured to do the will 
of God, so far as they knew it, were not utterly 
destitute of Divine grace and assistance : but now 
there is a more plentiful effusion of Gtod's grace and 
Holy Spirit ; so that whoever under the gospel sins 
deliberately, sins wilfully, and is wicked, not for 
want of power but of will to do otherwise. And 
thid i9 that which makes sin so shameful a thing, 
and so very reproachful to us, that we destroy our- 



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337 

selves by our own folly and ^leglect of ourselves^ and 
become miserable by oar own choice, and when the 
grace of God hath put it in our power to be wise 
and to be happy. 

I should now have proceeded to the second thing 
I proposed, which was to consider sin in relation to 
God, and to shew that it is no less shameful in 
that respect, than I have shewn it to be with regard 
to oursdves ; but this I shall refer to another oppor- 
tunity. 



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SERMON CLXIIt 

TlAt $tf MM Bt VhTfi^M 09 B^U^ AN ABSVMKltT ftm 
' KftPftNTAireE. 

Wkatfruii hnd^ tiM iu iMasB ikhfgSy tofmtt^^ am 
now ashamed ? For the end of those things is dfOiA^ 
Sut now being made free from sin^ and become ser- 
vants to Godj ye have your fruit unto holiness^ and 
the end everlasting life. — Rom. vi. 21, 22. 

In these words the apostle makes a comparisoD be- 
tween a hbly and virtuous, and a sinful and vicious 
course of life, and sets before us a perfect enumerar 
tion of the manifest inconveniencies of the one, and 
the manifold advantages of the other. 

I began with the first of these ; viz. to shew the 
manifest in'conveniencies of a sinful and vicious 
course. 1 am upon the second inconvenience of a 
sinful course ; viz. That the reflection upon it after- 
wards is cause of great shame and confusion of face 
to us ; and that 

First, In relation to ourselves. Which I have 
dispatched, and proceed now, in the 

Second place, to consider sin in respect of God, 
against whom, and in whose sight and presence, it 
is committed ; and upon exatnin^tion it will appear 
to be no less shameful in this respect than the other. 

There are some persons before whom we are moce 
apt to be ashamed and blush, than before others ; 
as those, whom we reverence, those to whom we>are 
greatly obliged, and those who are clear of those 



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5S0 ' 

fkiilto whicft We are gnHty of; arid, those who hate of 
^eatly dtsltke what we do, especially iif they be pre^ 
jsent with us, ^nd in our company, if they stand by m^ 
jftnd observe, and take notice of what we do, andf are 
likely to publish our folly and make it known, and 
have authority and power to punish us for ourfeuUs; 
we are ashamed to have done any thing that is vile 
and unworthy before such persons. Now to render 
jsin the more shameftil, God may be considered by 
us under all these notions, and in all these respects, 
I. Whenever we commit any sin, we do it before 
him, in his presence, and under his eye and know-t 
ledge, to whom of all persons in the world we oughf 
]to pay tlie most profound reverence. 1 remember 
Seneca somewhere says, that "There are some 
persons, quorum inttrventu perditi quoque homines 
vitia supprimerent, that are so awful and so gene* 
rally reverenced for the eminency of their virtues, 
jthat even the most profligate and impudent sinners 
win endeavour to sappress their vices, and refraior 
from any thing that is notori6usly bad and uncomely, 
whilst such persons stand by them, and are in pre-" 
sence.'' Such an otie was Cato among the Romans^ 
The people of Rome had such a regard and rerer- 
jence for him, that if he appeared, they would not 
begin or continue their usual sports, until he was 
withdrawn from the theatre, thinking them too light 
to be acted before a person of his gravity and vir* 
tue : and if they were so much awed by the presence 
of a wise and a virtuous m^n, that they were ashamed 
%o do any thing that was unseemly before him ; how 
much more should the presence of the holy God, 
who is " of pftrereyes than to behold iniquity,** make 
US blush to do any thiqg that is lewd and vile in his 
sight, atid jfitl us with shame and confusion of foce 



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340 

at tbe thoughts of it? Now whenever we conraiit any 
sio, God looks upon us; and he alone is ah ample 
theatre indeed. That he observes what we do, 
ought to be more to us, than if the eyes of all the 
world besides were gazing upon us. 

2. He likewise is incomparably our greatest bene- 
factor ; and there is no person in tbe world to whom, 
ill any degree, we stand so much obliged, as to him ; 
and from whom we can expect and hope for so much 
good, as from him ; the consideration whereof must 
make us ashamed, so often as we consider, and are 
conscious to ourselves, that we have done any thing 
that is grievous and displeasing to him. 

We are wont to have a more peculiar reverence 
for those to whom we are exceedingly beholden, and 
to be much ashamed to do any thing before them 
which may signify disrespect, and much more en- 
mity against them ; because this would be horrible 
ingratitude, one of the moBt odious and shameful 
of all vices. And is there any one to whom we can 
i^tand more obliged, than to him that made us, than 
to the author and founder of our beings, and the 
great patron and preserver of our lives? and can 
there then be any before whom, and against whom, 
we should be more'ashamed to offend ? When the 
prodigal in the parable would set forth the shaoieful- 
oess of his miscarriage, he aggravates it from hence, 
that he had offended against and before one to 
whom he had been so infinitely obliged : '' Father 
(says he), I have sinned against Heayen^ and in thy 
sight." 

3. We are ashamed likewise to be guijty of any 
fault or crime before those persons who are clear of 
it,.or ofany thing pf the like nature, themselves. Mea 
are not apt to be ashamed before those who are their 



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341 

feilow-critninals, and ioYolved with them in 4!be san^ 
guilt, because they do not stand in awe. of tbeao^ 
nor can have any reverence for them. Those who 
are equally guilty, must bear with one another. We 
are not apt to fear the censures and reproofs of those 
who are as bad as ourselves ; but we are ashaaied 
to do a foul and unworthy action before those who 
are innocent and free from the same, or the like sins 
and vices which we are guilty of« 

Now, whenever we commit any sin it is in the 
presence of the Holy Ghost, who hath no part with 
us in our crimes, whose nature is removed at the iMh 
thest distance from sin, and is as contrary to it tm 
can be. ''There is no iniquity with the Lord our 
God.'' And therefore, of all persons ia the worlds 
we should blush to be guilty of it before him* 

4. We are apt also to be ashamed to do any thing 
before those who dislike and detest what w^do. To 
do a wicked action before those who are not offend*- 
ed at it, or perhaps take pleasure in it, is no snch 
matter of shame to us. Now, of all others, Grod is 
the greatest hater of sin, and the most perfect enemy 
to it in the whole world. (Hab. i. 3.) ** Thou art of 
purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look 
on iniquity ;" L e. with patience, and without aa in* 
finite hatred and abhorrence of it Such is the unr 
spotted purity and perfection of the Divine nature, 
that it is not possible ihat God should give the least 
countenance to any thing that is eviK (PsaL v. 4^ 5^) 
** Tbou art not a God (says David there to him,) that 
hast pleasure in iniquity, neither shall ^vil dwell 
with thee : tbe^ wicked eriball not stand in thy sight ; 
thou hatest all workers of iniquity.'* 

6. We are ashamed likewise to do any thing that 
is evil and unseemly. before those who we are afraid 



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Si2 

frill pufbiisk our faults t& others, ami wiU luftkit 
Jcaowa aud expose the folly of them. Now wheo- 
ever we siu, it is before bim who will most certaitiljr 
one day briug all our worlds of darkness into the opea 
light, aud expose all our secret deeds of dishooestjr 
upon the public stage of the world» and make all tha 
vilest of our actions known, and lay them opeo^ 
with all the shameful circumstances of them, beifore 
men and angels, to our everlasting sh^me and confu- 
sion. This is the meaning of that proverbial speech, 
so often used by our Saviour, '^ There is nothing co* 
^ered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that ahall 
aot be made manifest.^' All the sins which we now 
commit with so ranch caulioo, in secret -and dark 
retirements, shall in that great day of revetattion 
when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, be 
set in open view, and in so full and strong a light, 
that all the world shall see them, and that which 
was plotted and contrived in so much secrecy, and 
hardly whispered in this world, shall then he pro* 
claimed aloud, and as it were upon the house^tope. 
6. And lastly, We are ashamed and afraid to 
coDnnit a fault before those who we believe will call 
as to an amount for jt, «nd punish us severely. A 
man may suffer innocently, and for a good cause } 
but all snflSering, in that case, is by Wise and good 
men esteemed honourable and glorious, and though 
we are condemned by men, we are acquitted in our 
own consdeuces : but that which is properly called 
punishment is always attended with iafamy and 
reproach ; because it always supposebh some fault 
and crime, as the ground and reason of it. Heaoe 
it is that in this vrorld men are not only afraid, but 
iisbamed, to commit any fault before Ihoee who they 
think have authority and pawer to punish it. He i% 



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ISO htfmimk WHam. jndeed^ tbit miU vedtwe to a* 
m fvrse hi ii^ presence of the judge. 

Ni0W irbenever we cmninit tmy wiokedneK, we do 
it otider'the eye^iilHbegreat J^Age of the world, who 
«teiidft^8t}y ^holds os^and whbse cmiftipqtent jofitice 
irttMids by us iready anoed «Qd dutrged for our do- 
iBtPuetieti/and oaa in « tnotteot cut oe ol£ Every 
lumthat w^ are goitty of^ in thoMg^t, rword; or deed^ 
J8 alll id the prMence of lAie holy/ and just, and 
fKiwerAil God ; whose power eaabies him, aad 
'^bO0e holioess and justice *will eflfoctimHy engage 
liitn, one time of other^ if a timely repentance doth 
not prevent it, to inflict a ierriUe paoishment upon 
all the workers of iniquity. 

Van see then by all that 4ia*b been said upon this 
at^ument, how shamefiiia thing sin is, and what coa*- 
Itiston of face the reflection upon our wicked lives 
^ught to canse in all of tie. ** WbaFt frait bad ye 
then in tbose things, whereof ye;ai^e now asbaoied i^ 
If ever we are brought to a true repentance for our 
ems, it cannot but be matter of great shaoae to us. 

We find, in Scripture, that shame doth continnally 
aCGompany repentance, and is inseparable from it. 
This is one mark and character of a true penitent, 
that he i^ ashamed of what be hafth doMs Thus 
£zra, when he makes confession of the sins of the 
people, he testifies and declares his shame for what 
tiiey had xlone ; *' I said, O my Crod I I am ashamed^ 
and blush to lift up mine eyes totbee, my God ; for 
our iniquities are increased over our heads, and our 
trespasses are grown up to the heavens.*' (Ezra ix. 6.) 
And may not we of this nation at thib day take these 
words unto ourselves, considering to what a strange 
height our sins are grown, and how iniquity abounds 
among us? So likewise the prophet Jeremiah, when 



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544 

he would express the repenteQce of the people, ef 
Israel, (Jer. iii.. 25.) ^* We lie down (says he) i^oor 
shame, and our coofusiou corereth us, because we 
have sinned against the Lord our God." In likeman- 
ner the prophet Daniel^ after he had in the name of the 
people made a bumble acknowledgment of tbetr mar 
nifold and great sins, he takes shame to himself and 
them for them : (Dan. ix. 5, &c.) ** We have sinned 
(says he), and have committed iniquity, and have 
done wickedly, and have rebelled in departing from 
thy precepts, and from thy judgments. OLord, 
righteousness belongeth to thee ; but unto us confu- 
sion of face, as at this day ; to the men pf J.udab^ 
and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all 
Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all 
the countries whither thou hast driven them, because 
of their trespass which they have trespassed against 
Ihee : O Lord ! to us belongeth confusion of face, to 
our kipgs, to our princes, and to our fathers, be* 
cause we have sinned against thee/' By which we 
may judge, how considerable and essential a part of 
repentance this holy man esteemed shame, for the 
sins tliey had been guilty of, to be. And, indeed, 
upon all occasions of solemn repentance and humi- 
liation for sin, this taking shame for their sins is 
hardly ever omitted, as if there could be no sincere 
confession of sin apd repentance for it, without tes- 
tifying their shame and confusion of f^p upon the 
remenibrance of their sins. (i^ 

Now to stir up this affection of shame in us, let 
me offer to you these three considerations : 

I. Consider what great reason we have to be 
heartily ashamed of a)l the sins and offences which 
we have been guilty of against God. It was a good 
old precept of philosophy, " that we should rev€;r- 



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345 

encf ^ttrpel?^ T t. e. .tbat we ihould qever do 9Xkjf 
tbiDg that should be lufitter of abaine and reproftch 
4o US after wards, Qotbingthatmisbecoiqes^us, aad is 
no worthy of us^. 

J have shewn, at large, that all sin and vice is a 
dishonour to our nature, and benqatb the dignity of 
It ; that it is a great reproach to our reason, and 
directly contrary to our true and best interest ; that 
it hath ail the aggravating circumstances of infamy 
and shame ; that every sin that was at any time com- 
mitted by us, was done in the presence of one, 
whom of all persons in the world we have most rea- 
son to reverence, and against him, to whom of all 
others we stand most obliged for the greatest fa- 
vours, for innumerable benefits, for infinite mercy, 
and patience, and forbearance towards us, in the 
presence of the holy and just God, who is at the 
farthest distance from sin, and the greatest and most 
implacable enemy to it in the whole world; and who 
will one day punish all our faults, and expose us to 
open shame for them ; who will ** bring every work 
into judgment, and every secret Bin" that ever we 
committed, and take vengeance upon us for all our 
iniquities. So that whenever wa sin we shamefully 
entreat ourselves, and give the deepest wounds to 
our reputation in the esteem of him, who is the mof t 
competent judge of what is truly honourable and 
praise wortliy, and clothe ourselves with shame and 
dishonour. 

We are ashamed of poverty, because the poor man 
is despised, and almost ridiculous in the eye of the 
proud and covetous rich man, ** whose riches are his 
high tower," and make him apt to look down upon 
the poor man that is below him with contempt and 
scorn ; we are ashamed of a dangerous and conta- 

VOL. VII, 2 a 



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346 

gious disease,. because all men fly infectioiis com- 
pany; bat a man may be poorer sick by misfor- 
tune ; but no man is fvricked, but by his Own fatih 
and wilful choice. Ill-natured and inconsiderate 
men will be apt to contemn us for our poverty and 
affliction in any kind, but by our vices we reader 
ourselves. odious to God, and to all good and coDsi- 
derate men. 

IL Consider that shame for sin now, is the way to 
prevent eternal shame and confusion hereafter. For 
this is one great part of the misery of another world, 
that the sinner shall then be filled with everlasting 
shame and confusion at the remembrance of his 
faults and folly. The eternal misery of wicked 
men is sometimes in Scripture represented, as if it 
consisted only, or chiefly, in the infamy and reproadi 
which will then overwhelm them, when all their 
crimes and faults shall be exposed and laid open to 
the view of the whole world : (Dan. xii. 2.) where 
the 'general resurrection of the just and unjust is 
thus described ; ** Many of them that sleep in the 
dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting 
life, and some to everlasting shame and contempt ;" 
where " everlasting life'* and " everlasting shame" 
' are opposed, as if eternal shame were a kind of per- 
petual death. 

In this world sinners ipake a hard shift, by con- 
cealing or extenuating their faults, as well as they 
can, to suppress or lessen their shame; they have 
not now so clear and full a conviction of the evil 
and folly of their sin : God is pleased to bear with 
them, and to spare them at present, and they do not 
yet feel the dismal effects and consequence^ of a 
wicked life : but in the next world, when '* the righ- 
teous judgment of God is revealed," and the full vials 



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of his wrath shall be poured forth upon sioners, 
they shall then ** be clothed with shame as with a 
garment, aad be covered with confusion;" theo 
they will feel the folly of their sins, and have a 
sensible demonstration within themselves of the in- 
finite evil of them; their own consciences will then 
furiously fly in their faces, and with the greatest bit- 
terness and rage upbraid and reproach them, with 
the folly of their own doings ; and so long as we are 
sensible that we sufier for our own folly, so long we 
must unavoidably be ashamed of what we have 
done. So that if sinners shall be everlastingly tor- 
mented in another world, it necessarily follows, that 
they shall be eternally confounded. 

Is it not then better to remember our ways now, 
and to be ashamed and repent of them, than to 
bring everlasting shame and confusion upon our- 
selves, before God, and angels, and naen ? This is 
the argument which St. John useth, to take men off 
from sin, and to engage them to holiness and righ- 
teousness of life; (1 John ii. 28.) ''That when he 
shall appear,** that is, when he shall come to judge 
the world, ** we may have confidence, and not be 
ashamed before him at his coming." 

III. And lastly. Consider that nothing, sets men 
at a farther distance from repentance, and all hopes 
of their becoming better, and brings them nearer to 
ruin, than impudence in a sinful course. There are ' 
too many in the world who are so far from being 
ashamed of their wickedness, and blushing at the 
mention of their faults, that they boast of them, and 
glory in them. God often complains of this in the 
people of Israel, as a sad presage of their ruin, and 
an ill sign of their desperate and irrecoverable con- 
dition : (Jer. iii. 3.) '' Thou badst a whore's fore- 

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348 

ii?ad, and refasedst to be ashamed ;*' and (Jer. yi. 15.) 
** Were they ashamed when they committed abpmi^ 
nations? Nay, they were not ashamed, mother could 
they blush: therefore they shall lall among them 
that faUt and in the time that I visit them they shall 
be cast down." Hear, likewise, how the apostle 
doth lament the case of such persons, as incurable, 
and past all remedy : (Philip, iii. 18, 10.) ** There 
«re many of whom I haTe told you often, and now 
tell you,, even weeping, that they are enemies to the 
trross of Christ : whose end is destruction, whose 
Ood is their belly,, whose glory is in their shame.'"^ 
Such persons who glory in that which ought to be 
their shame, what can their end be but destruc- 
tion? 

There is certainly no greater argument of a d^e- 
Berate person^ and of one that is utterly lost to all 
«ease of goodness, than to be void of shame: and 
as, on the one hand, they must be very towardly,^ 
and well-disposed to virtue, who are drawn by in- 
^ntiity, and mere sense of obligation and kindness : 
so, on the other hand, they must be very stupid and 
insensible, who are not wrought upon by arguments 
of fear and sense of shame. There is hardly any 
hopes of that ntan who is not to be reclaimed fron^ 
an evil course, neither by the apprehension of danger,, 
nor of disgrace, and who can at once securely neg^ 
lect both bis safety and reputation. 

Hear howthe prophet represents the deplorable 
ease of such persons : (Isa. iii. 9.) ** The show of 
their countenance bears witness against them ;!' ia 
the Hebrew it is, **^ The hardness of their cOuote- 
moice doth testify against them, and they declare 
their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto 
their souls, for they have rewarded evil (o them.- 



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«elv<$i/" When men are once arrived to tbat {dtdhr 
of impiety, as to harden tbeir foreheads against all 
sense and show of shauoe, aad so ^s t6 be al>ie to 
«et a good face upon the foulest tnatter in tlie wotld, 
*^ Woe unto them/' because their case ^eems then to 
be desperate, and past all hopes of recovery. For 
^bo can hope that a raaa will forsake his sins, 
whea he is not so much as ashamed of them ? But 
yet one would think, that those who are not ashamed 
of their impiety, should be ashaoted of their impu*- 
dence, and should at least blush at this, that they 
can do the yilest and the mostsfaam^iil things iti the 
world without blushing. 

To conclude this whole discourse, let the consi- 
deration of the evil and shameful ness of sin have 
this double effect upop ua^ to m^ke us heartily 
ashamed of the past errors and miscarriages of our 
lives, and firmly resolved to do better for the future; 

I. To be heartily ashamed of the past errors of 
our lives. So often as we reflect upon the manifold 
and heinous pnotocations 6f the Divine Majesty, 
which many of us have been guilty of in the long 
course of a wicked life, together with the heavy ag- 
gravations of our sins, by all the circumstances that 
can render them abominable and shameful, not only 
in the eye of God and men, but of our own con* 
sciences likewise ; we have great reason to humble 
ourselves before God, in a penitent acknowledgment 
of them, and every one of us to^y with Job, '* Be- 
hold, I am vile, ivhat shall I answer thee ? I will lay 
mine hand upon my mouth, I abhor myself, and re- 
pient in dust and ashes ^ and with Ezra, '*0 my 
God ! I am ashamed, and blush to lift up my hce 
to thee, my God ; for our iniquities are increased 
over bur heads, and our trespass is grown up unto 



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the heavens : and now, O my God, what shall we 
say after this ? for we have forsaken thy command- 
ments ;"* and with holy Daniel, *\ We have sinned, 
and have committed iniquity, and have done wicked- 
ly; O Lord! righteousness belongeth unto thee, 
but unto us confusion of face/' Thus we should 
reproach and upbraid ourselves in the presence of 
that holy God, whom we have so often and so 
highly offended, and against whom we have done 
as evil things as we could, and say with the prodi- 
gal son in the parable: *' Father, I have sinned 
against Heaven and before thee, and am no more 
worthy to be called thy son.*' 

If we would thus take shame to ourselves, and 
humble ourselves before God, he would ** be merci- 
ful to us miserable sinners ;" he would ** take away 
all iniquity, and receive us graciously ;" and so soon 
as ever he saw us coming towards him, would meet 
us with joy, and embrace us in the arms of his 
mercy. And then, 

11. As we should be heartily ashamed of the past 
errors and miscarriages of our lives, so we should 
firmly resolve, by God's grace, to do better for the 
future; never to consent to iniquity, or to do any 
thing which' we are convinced is contrary to our 
duty, and which will be matter of shame to us, when 
we come to look back upon it, and make our blood 
to rise in our faces at the mention or iptimation of 
it ; which will make us to sneak, and hang down 
our heads, when we are twitted and upbraided with 
it, and which, if it be not preveqted by a timely hu- 
miliation and repentance, will fill us with horror 
and amazement, with shame and confusion of face, 
both at the hour of death, and in the day pf judg- 
ment. 



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So that when we look into onr lives, and examine 
the actions of them, when we consider what we have 
done, and what our doings haye deserved, we should, 
in a due sense of the great and manifold miscar- 
riages of our lives, and from a deep sorrow, and 
shame, and detestation of ourselves for them ; I say, 
we should, with that true penitent described in Job, 
take words to ourselves, and say, *' Surely it is meet 
to be said unto God, I will not offend any more; 
that which I know not, teach thou me ; and if I have 
done iniquity, I will do no more." And thus I have 
done with the second inconvenience of a sinful and 
Ticious course of life ; viz. that the reflection upon it 
afterwards canseth shame; ^* What fruit had you 
then in those things, whereof ye are now ashamed ?** 



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SERMON CLXIV. 

THE FINAL ISSUE OF SIN, AN ARGUMENT FOR 
REPENTANCE. 

fVhat fruit had ye then in those things, whereof ye 

are now ashamed? for the end of those things is 

, death. Sut nowy being made free from sin, and be- 

come servants to Gody ye have your fruit unto holi- 

ness, and the end everlasting life. — Rom. vi. 21, 22. 

These M^ords are a comparison between a holy 
and Tirtuous, and a sinful and vicious course of life, 
and set before us the manifest inconveniencies of the 
one, and the manifold advantages of the other. T 
have entered into a discourse upon the first of these 
heads ; viz. the manifest inconveniencies of a sinful 
and vicious course: and the text mentions these 
three: 

I. That it is unprofitable. 

II. That the reflection upon it aftervirards is matter 
of shame. These tviro I have spoken largely to. I 
shall now proceed to the 

III. Third and last inconvenience, which the text 
mentions, of a sinful and vicious course of life ; viz. 
that the final issue and consequence of these things 
is very dismal and miserable ; ** The end of those 
things is death.'' No fruit then when ye did these 
things ; shame now that you come to reflect upon 
them ; and misery and death at the last. 

There are, indeed, almost innumerable considera- 
tions and arguments to discourage and deter men 



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353 

from liin ; the unreasonablenesd of it in itAeM; the 
injtistfce, and disloyalty, and ingratitude of it in re- 
spect to God ; the ill example of it to others : the 
ci'aeTty of it to Ourselves ; the shame and dishonour 
th^t attends it ; the grief and sorrow which it will 
cost us, if ever we be brought to a due sense of it; 
the froubfe and horror of a guilty conscience, that 
v^illperpetnaHy haunt us; but above all, the miserable 
event and sad issue of a wicked course of life con^ 
tinued in, and finally unrepented of. The tempta^ 
tipns to sin may be alluring enougb, and look upon 
us with a smiling countenance, and the commission 
may afford us a short and imperifecf pleasure ; but 
the remembrance of it will certainly be bitter, and 
the end of it miserable. 

And this consideration is of all others the most 
apt to work upon the generality of men, especially 
upon the more obstinate and obdurate sort of sin^ 
ners, and those whom no other arguments will pene- 
trate — that, whatever the present pleasure and ad- 
Vantage of sin may be, it tvill be bitterness and 
misei'y ih the end. 

The two former inconvenieticies of a sinful course 
which I lately discoursed of, viz. that sin is un« 
profitable, and that it is shameful, are very consider- 
able, and ought to be great arguments against it to 
every sinner, and considerate man : and yet how 
light sire they, and but as the very small dust upon 
the balance, in comparison of that insupportable 
weight of misery which will oppress the sinner at 
last! '' Itldignation and wrath, tribulation and an- 
guish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil." This, 
this is the sting of all, that *' the end of these things 
ite death."^ 

It is very usual, in Scripture, to express the great- 



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354 

est happiness and the greatest misery by life and 
death ; life being the first and most desirable of all 
other blessings, because it is the foundation of them, 
and that which makes us capable of all the rest* 
Hence we find, in Scripture, that all the blessings of 
the gospel are summed up in this one word : (John 
XX. 3K) '' These things are written that you might 
believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and 
that believing ye might have life through his name." 
(1 John iv. 9.) ** In this was manifested the love of 
God towards us, because that God sent his only-be- 
gotten Son into the world, that we might live through 
him^" So that under this term or notion of life, the 
Scripture is wont to express all happiness to us, 
and more especially that eternal life which is the 
great promise of the gospel. And this is life by way 
of eminency ; as if this frail, and mortal, and misera^ 
ble life which we live here in this world, did not de- 
serve that name. 

And, on the other hand, all the evils which are 
consequent upon sin, especially the dreadful and 
lasting misery of another world, are called by the 
name of death. '' The end of these things is death." 
So the apostle, here in the text, and ver. 23. ^^ The 
wages of sin is death ;" not only a temporal death, 
but such a death as is opposed to eternal life : ** The 
wages of sin is death ; but the gift of God is eternal, 
life through Jesus Christ our Ix>rd." So that death 
here in the text is plainly intended to comprehend 
in it all those fearful and astonishing miseries, where- 
with the wrath of God will pursue and afflict sinners 
in another world. 

But what and how great this misery is, I am dot 
able to declare to you ; " it hath" no more ** entered 
into the heart of man," than those great hnd glorious 



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355 

thifigs which ^ God hath laid up for Urem that love 
him :" and as I would fain hope, that none of us 
here shall ever hare the sad experience of it ; so 
Boue but those who have^lt it, are able to give m 
tolerable description of the iutolerableness of it. 

But by what the Scripture hath said of it iu gene*.^ 
ral, and in such metaphors as are most level to our 
present capacity, it appears so full of terror, that I 
am loath to attempt the representation of it. There 
are so many other arguments that are more humane 
and natural, and more proper to work upon the 
reason and ingenuity of men; as, the great love and 
kindness of God to us; the grievous sufferings of 
his Son for us ; the unreasonableness and shame* 
fulness of sin ; the present benefit and advantage, 
the peace and pleasure, of a holy and virtuous life ; 
and the mighty rewards promised to it in another 
world; that one would think these should be abun- 
dantly sufficient to prevail with men to gain them 
to goodness, and that they need not be frighted into 
it, and to have the law laid to them, as it was once 
given to the people of Israel, in ** thunder and light- 
ning, in blackness, in darkness and tempest,*' so as 
to make them *^ exceedingly to fear and tremble." 
And it seems a very hard case, that when we have 
to deal with men sensible enough of their interest 
in other cases, and diligent enough to mind it^ we 
cannot persuade them to accept of happiness with- 
out setting before them the terrors of eternal dark- 
ness, and those amazing and endless miseries which 
will certainly be the portion of those who refuse so 
great a happiness: this, I say, seems very hard, 
that men must be carried to the gate of hell before 
they can be brought to set their faces towards heaveUt 
and to think in good earnest of getting thither. 



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356 

And yel it canDoC be dfesembled, thai tbe oiteve 
of men h so degenerate bs to^rtand in need of this 
afrgoment ; and thi^t men are so far engaged in a» 
€iril course^ tbat they are^not to be reclaimed from 
it by any other consideration but of the endless aod 
unspeakable misery of impenitent sinners in another 
world. And therefore God, knowing bow neces- 
sary this is, doth frequently make use of it; and 
our blessed Saviour, than whom none was eyer 
more mild and gentle, doth often set this eensidera*- 
tion before men, to take them off from sin, and te 
bring them to do better And this, St. Paul tells 
US, (Rom. i. 18.) is one principal thing which ren* 
ders the gospel so powerful an instrument for the 
reforming and sating of mankind, because *^ therein 
the wrath of God is revealed from heaven, against 
all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.^ 

So that, how harsh and unpleasant soever this ar«- 
gument may be, the great stupidity and folly of 
some men, and their inveterate obstinacy in an evil 
course, makes it necessary for us to press it home^ 
that those who will not be moved, and made sensi- 
ble of the danger and inconvenience of sin by 
gentler arguments, may be roused and awakened 
by the terrors of eternal misery. 

That the last issue and consequence of a wicked 
life will be very miserable^ the general apprehen« 
sion of mankind concerning the fete of bad men ia 
another world, and the secret misgivings of men's 
consciences, give men too much ground to fear. 
Besides that, the justice of Divine providence, 
which is not many times in this world so clear and 
manifest, does seem to require that there should be 
a time of recompence, when the virtue and patience 
of good men should be rewarded, and the iasolence 



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mod obstinacy of bad meu should be pantsfaei* 
This cannot but appear very reasonable to any man 
that CQnsidm*8 the nature of God, and is persuaded 
that be governs the world, and hath given laws to 
mankind, by the observance whereof they may be 
happy, and by the n^lect and contempt whereof 
they must be miserable. 

But, that there might remain no doubts upon the 
minds of men concerning these matters^ God hath 
been pleased to reveal this from heaven, by a per- 
son sent by him on purpose to declare it to the 
world ; and to the truth of these doctrines concern- 
ing a future state, and a day of judgment, and re- 
compences, God hath given testimony by unques- 
tionable miracles wrought for the confirmation of 
them, and particularly by ** the resurrection of Jesu» 
Christ from the dead, whereby he hath given an as-- 
surance unto all men,, that he is the person or- 
dained by God to judge the world in righteous- 
ness, and to render to every man according to his 
deeds ; to them who, by patient continuance in well- 
doing, seek for glory, and honour, and immortality,, 
eternal life ; but to them who obey not the truth,, 
but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,, 
tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man 
that doeth evil/'^ 

So that, how quietly soever wicked men may pass 
through this world, or out of it (which they seldom 
do), misery wiH certainly overtake their sins at last; 
unspeakable and intolerable misery, arising from 
the anguish of a guilty conscience, from a lively ap- 
prehension of their sad loss, and from a quick sense 
^f the sharp pain which they labour under; and alt 
this aggravated and set off with the consideration 
-^f past pleasure, and the despair of future ease. 



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358 

Each of these is misery enongh, and all of them 
together do constitute and make up that dismal 
and forlorn state which the Scripture calls hell and 
damnation. 

I shall, therefore, briefljr represent (for it is by no 
.means desirable to dwell long upon so melancholy 
and frightful an argument), 

First, The principal ingredients which consti^ 
tute this miserable state. And, 

Secondly, The a^ravations of it. 

First, The principal ingredients which constitute 
this miserable state ; and they are these three which 
I have mentioned : 

I. The anguish of a guilty mind. 

II. The lively apprehensions of the invaluable 
happiness which they have lost. 

III. A quick sense of the intolerable pains which 
they lie under. 

I. . The anguish of a guilty conscience. And 
this is natural; for there is a worm that abides in 
a guilty conscience, and is continually gnawing 
it. This is that our Saviour calls '* the worm that 
,dies not." And though God should inflict no po- 
sitive punishment upon sinners, yet this is a revenge 
which every man's mind would take upon him ; for 
things are so ordered by God in the original frame 
and constitution of our minds, that, on the one hand, 
peace and pleasure, contentment and satisfaction, do 
naturally arise in our minds from the conscience of 
well-doing, and spring up in the soul of every good 
man : and, on the other band, no man knowingly 
does an evil action, but his guilty conscience galls 
him for it, and the remembrance of it is full of bit- 
terness to him. 

And this the sinner feels in tj^iis world ; he dis- 



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359 

^niseth and dissembleth his trouble as much as hc^ 
can, and shifts off these aneasy thoughts by all the 
diversions he can devise, and by this qieans palliates 
his disease, and renders his condition in some sort 
tolerable unto himself; but when be is alone, or 
cast upon the bed of sickness, and his thoughts are 
let loose upon him, and he hath nothing to give 
them a diversion, how does his guilt ferment and 
work! And the fever, which lurked before, does 
now shew itself, and is ready to burn him up; so 
that nothing can appear more dismal and ghastly, 
than such a man does to himself* 

And much more, when sinners come into the 
other world, and are entered into the' regions of 
darkness, and the melancholy shades where evil 
spirits are continually wandering up and down, 
where they can meet with nothing either of employ- 
ment or pleasure, to give the least diversion to their 
pensive minds; where they shall find nothing to do, 
but to reflect upon and bemoan themselves; wliere 
all the wicked actions that ever they committed 
shall come fresh into their minds, and stare their 
c6nsciences in the face. It is not to be imagined 
what sad scenes will then be present to their imagi- 
nations, and what 8harp reflections their own guilty 
minds will make upon them, and what swarms of 
furies will possess them. 

So soon as ever they are entered upon that state, 
they will then find themselves forsaken of all those 
comforts which they once placed so much happiness 
in ; and they will have nothing to converse with but 
their own uneasy selves, and those that are as mise- 
rable as themselves, and therefore incapable of ad- 
ministering any comfort to one another. They will 
then have nothing to think on but what will trouble 



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360 

them; and every new thought wiU b^ a new jo- 
crease of their trouble. Their guilt will make them 
restless, and the more restless they are, the more 
will their minds be enraged ; and there will be no 
end of their vexation, because the cause and ground 
of it is perpetual. For there is no possible way tp 
get rid of guilt but by repentapce ; and there is no 
encouragement, no argument, to repentance, where 
there is no hope of pardon. So that if God should 
hold his hand and leave sinners to themselv^, aqd to 
the lashes of their own conscience, a more severe and 
terrible torment can hardly be imagined, than that 
which a guilty mind, would execute upon itj^elf. 

II. Another ingredient into the miseries of sin- 
ners in another world, is the lively apprehension of 
the invaluable happiness which they have lost by 
their own obstinacy and foolish choice. In the 
next world wicked men shall be for ever separated 
from Grod, who is the fountain of happiness, and 
from all the comforts of his presence and favour. 
This, our Saviour tells us, is the first part of that 
dreadfiil sentence that shall be passed upon the 
wicked at the great day, *^ Depart from me ;'' which 
words, though they do not signify any positive in- 
fliction and torment, yet they import the greatest 
lots that can be imagined. And it is not so easy to 
determine which is the greatest of evils, loss or pain. 
Indeed, to a creature that is only endowed with 
sense, there can be no misery but that of pain and 
suffering: but to those who have reason and un- 
derstanding, and are capable of knowing the value 
of things, and of reflecting upon themselves in the 
want of them, the greatest los3 may he as grievous 
and hard to be borne as the greatest pain. 

It is true, that sinners are now so immersed in the 



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361 

gross and sensual delights of this world, that they 
have no apprehension of the joys of heaven, and 
the pleasures of God's presence, and of the happi- 
ness that is to be epjoyed in communion with him, 
and therefore they are not now capable of estimat- 
ing the greatness of this loss. But this insensible- 
ness of wicked men continues no longer than this 
present state, which affords them variety of objects 
of pleasure and of business to divert them and en^ 
tertain them : but when they come into the other 
world, thQy shall then have nothing else to think 
upon, but the sad condition into which they have 
brought themselves, nothing to<do but to pore and 
meditate upon their own misfortune, when they 
shall lift up their eyes, and, with the rich man in the 
parable, in the midst of their torments, look up to 
those who are in Abraham's bosom ; and their 
misery will be mightily increased by the contempla- 
tion of that happiness which others enjoy, and 
themselves have so foolishly forfeited and fallen 
short of; insomuch, that it would be happy for them 
if that God, from whose presence they are banished, 
that heaven from which they have excluded them- 
selves, and that everlasting glory which they have 
despised and neglected, might be for ever hid from 
their eyes, and never come into their minds. 

III. This is not all, but besides the sad appre- 
hension of their loss, they shall endure the sharpest 
pains. These Grod hath threatened sinners withal, 
and they are in Scripture represented to us, by the 
most grievous and intolerable pains that in this 
world we are acquainted withal ; as, by the pain of 
burning. Hence the wicked are said to be ^^ cast 
into the lake which bums with fire and brimstone, 
and into the fire which is i]ot quenched;" which, 

VOL. VII. 2 B 



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ti^hetber it be literally to be understood or DOt, is 
certaioly intended to signify the most severe kind 
of torment ; but what that is, and in what manner 
it shall be inflicted, none know but they that feel 
it, and lie under it. The Scripture tells so much in 
general of it, as is enough to warn men to avoid it ; 
that it is the effect of a mighty displeasure, and of 
anger armed with omnipotence, and consequently 
must needs be very terrible, more dreadful than we 
can now conceive, and probably greater than can 
be described by any of those pains and sufferings 
which now we are, acquainted withal ; for " who 
knows the power of God's anger," and the utmost 
of what almighty justice can do to sinners? Who 
can comprehend the vast signiGcaucy of those ex- 
pressions, '' £ear him who, after he hath killed, oao 
destroy both body and soul in hell?" And again, 
*' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the 
living God !" One would think this were misery 
enough, and needed no ferther aggravation ; and 
yet it hath two terrible ones, from the consideration 
of past pleasures which sinners have enjoyed in this 
world, and from an utter despair of future ease and 
remedy. 

1. From the consideration of the past pleasures 
which sinners have ergoyed in this life. This will 
make their sufferings much more sharp and sensi- 
ble; for, as nothing commends pleasure more, and 
give happiness a quicker taste and relish, than pre- 
cedent sufferings and pain, there is not perhaps a 
greater pleasure in the world, than the strange and 
sadden ease which a man finds after a sharp fit of 
the stone or cholic, or after a man is taken off the 
rack, and nature which was in an agony before isall 
all once set at perfect ease: so, on the other hand, 



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363 

Tiotbing exasperates BuflTeringmore, and setsa keener 
edge upon misery^ than to 8tep into afflictions and 
pain immediately oat of a state of great ease and 
pleasure. This we find in the parable was the great 
aggravation of the rich man*8 torment, that he had 
first received good things, and was afterwards tor- 
mented. We may do well to consider this, that 
those pleasures of sin which have now so mnch of 
temptation in them, will in the* next world be one of 
the chief aggravations of our torment. 

2. The greatest aggravation of this misery will be, 
that it is attended with the despair of any future 
ease ; and when misery and despair meet together, 
they make a man completely miserable. The dura- 
tion of this misery is expressed to us in Scripture, 
by such words as are used to signify the longest 
and most interminable duration. '' Depart ye 
cursed into everlasting fire," (Matt. xxv. 41.) 
** Where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not 
quenched," (Mark ix. 44.) And (2Thess. i. 7.) it is 
there said, that ^* those who know not God, and 
obey not the gospel of his Son, shall be punished 
with everlasting destruction, from the presence of 
the Lord, and from the glory of his power." And 
(Rev. XX. 10.) that " the wicked shall be tor- 
mented day and night for ever and ever." And 
what can be imagined beyond this? This is the 
perfection of misery, to lie under the greatest tor- 
ment, and yet be in despair of ever finding the least 
ease. 

And thus I have done with the first thing I pro- 
pounded to speak to from this text; viz. The mani- 
fest inconveniencies of a sinful and vicious course 
of life ; that it brings no present benefit or advon* 
tage tons ; that the reflection upon it causeth shame; 

2 B 2 



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364 

and that it is fearful and miserable in the last issue 
and consequence of it. '' What fruit had you/' &c. 

I should now have proceeded to the second part 
of the text, which represents to us the manifold ad- 
Tantages of a holy and virtuous course of life: 
(v«r. 22.) ^* But now being made free from sin and 
become the servants of righteousness, ye have your 
fruit unto holiness f there is the present advantage 
of it: ''and the end everlasting life;" there is the 
future reward of it. But this is a large argument, 
which will require a discourse by itself, and there- 
fore I shall not now enter upon it ; but shall only 
make some reflections upon what hath been said, 
concerning the miserable issue and consequence of 
a wicked life impenitently persisted in. 

And surely, if we firmly believe and seriously 
consider these things, we have no reason to be fond 
of any vice ; we can take no great comfort or con- 
tentment in a sinful course. If we could, for the 
seeming advantage and short pleasure of some sins, 
dispense with the temporal mischiefs and inconve* 
niencies of them, which yet I cannot see hpw any 
prudent and considerate man could do : if we could 
conquer shame, and bear the infamy and reproach 
which attends most sins, arid could digest the up- 
braidings of our own consciences, so often as we call 
them to remembrance, and reflect seriously upon 
them ; though for tbe gratifying an importunate in- 
clination, and an impetuous appetite, all the incon- 
veniencies of them might be born withal; yet me* 
thinks the very thought of the end and issue of a 
wicked life, that '' the end of these things is death,*' 
that ** indignation and wrath, tribulation and an* 
guish,'' far greater than we can now describe, or 
imagine, '' shall be to every soul of man that doeth 



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365 

evil," should overrule us. Though the violence of 
an irregular lust and desire are able to bear down 
all other arguments, yet methinks the eternal in- 
terest of our precious and immortal souls should 
still lie near our hearts, and affect us very sensibly. 
Methinks the consideration of another v^orld, and 
of all eternity, and of that dismal fate which at- 
tends impenitent sinners after this life, and the 
dreadful hazard of being miserable for ever, should 
be more than enough to dishearten any man from a 
wicked life, and to bring him to a better mind and 
course. 

And if the plain representations of these things do 
not prevail with men to this purpose, it is a sign 
that either they do not believe these things, or else 
that they do not consider them ; one of these two 
must be the reason why any man, notwithstanding 
these terrible threatenings of God's word, does ven- 
ture to continue in an evil course. 

It is vehemently to be suspected, that men do 
not really believe these things, that they are not 
fully persuaded that there is another state after this 
life, in which the righteous God ** will render to 
every man according to his deeds :" and, therefore, 
so much wickedness as we see in the lives of men, 
80 much infidelity may reasonably be suspected to 
lie lurking in their hearts. They may indeed seepi- 
ingly profess to believe these things; but he that 
would know what a man inwardly and firmly be- 
lieves should attend rather to his actions than to his 
verbal professions : for if any man lives so, as no 
man that believes the principles of the Christian 
religion in reason can live, there is too much reason 
to question whether that man doth believe his reli- 
gion ; he may say he does, but there is a far greiater 



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evidence io'the case than words ; the actions of the 
man are by far the most credible declarations of 
the inward sense and persuasion of bis* mind. 

Did men firmly and heartily believe that there is 
a God that governs the world, and regards the ac- 
tions of men, and that " he hath appointed a day in 
which he will judge the world in righteousness," 
and that all mankind shall appear before him in that 
day, and every action that they have done in their 
whole lives shall be brought upon the stage, and 
pass a strict examination and censure, and that 
those who have made conscience of their duty to 
God and men, and have " lived soberly, right- 
eously, and godly, in this present world," shall be 
unspeakably and eternally happy in the next; but 
those who have lived lewd and licentious lives, and 
persisted in an impenitent course, shall be ex^ 
trenaely and everlastingly miserable, without pity^ 
and without comfort, and without remedy, and with^ 
out hope of ever being otherwise ; I say, if men were 
fully and firmly persuaded of these things, it is not 
credible, it is hardly possible that they should live 
such profane and impious, such careless and dis- 
solute lives, as we daily eee a great part of man^ 
kind do. 

That man that can be awed from his duty, or 
tempted to sin, by any of the pleasures or terrors of 
this world, that ibr the present enjoyment of his 
lusts can be contented to venture his soul, what 
greater evidence than this can there be, that this 
man does not believe the threatenings of the gospeU 
and how '' fearful a thing it is to fall into the hands 
of the living God?"" That man that can be willing 
to undergo a hard service for several years, that he 
may be io a way to get an estate, and be rich in this 



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world, aud yet will not be persuaded to reitralti 
faiflaselfof bis liberty, or to deny his pleasure, or to 
check his appetite or lost, for the greatest reward 
that God can promise, or the severest punishment 
that he can threaten ; can any man reasonably 
think, that this man is persuaded of any such faap- 
piuess or misery after this life, as is plainly re*- 
vealed in the gospel, that *< rerily there is a reward 
for the righteous, and Yerily there is a God that 
judgeth the earth ?'' For what can he that believes 
not one syllable of the Bible do worse than this 
comes to ? 

A strong and vigorous faith, even in temporal 
cases, is a powerful principle of action, especially 
if it be backed and enforced with arguments of fear. 
He that believes the reality of a thing, and that it is 
good for him, and that it may be attained, and that 
if he doth attain it, it will make him very happy, 
and that without it he shall be extremely miserable; 
such a belief and persuasion will put a man upon 
difficult things, and make him to put forth a vigor- 
ous endeavour, and to use a mighty industry for the 
obtaining of that, concerning which he is thus per- 
suaded. 

And the faith of the gospel ought to be sO much 
the more powerful, by how much the objects of 
hope and fear, which it presents to us, are greater 
and more considerable. Did men fully believe the 
kappiness of heaven, and the torments of hell, and 
were they as verily persuaded of the truth of them, 
as if they were before their eyes, how insignificant 
would all the terrors and temptations of sense be 
to draw tbem into sin, and seduce them from fheit 
duty? 

But, although it seems very strange, and almost 



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incredible, that men should believe these thiogs^ and 
yet live wicked and impious lives; yet, because I 
have no mind, and God knows there is no need, to 
increase the number of infidels in this age, I shall 
chopse rather to impute a great deal of the wicked- 
ness that is in the world to the inconsiderateness 
of men, than to their unbelief. I will grant that 
they do in some sort believe these things, or at least 
that they do not disbelieve them ; and then the 
great cause of men's ruin must be, that they do not 
attend to the consequence of this belief, and how 
men ought to live that are thus persuaded. Men 
stifle their reason, and suffer themselves to be hurried 
away by sense, into the embraces of sensual objects 
and things present, but do not consider.what the end 
of these things will be^ and what is like to become of 
them hereafter; for it is not to be imagined, but that 
that man who shall calmly consider with himself 
what sin is, the shortness of its pleasure, and the 
eternity of its punishment, should seriously resolve 
upon a better course of life. 

And why do we not consider these things, which 
are of so infinite concernment to us? What have 
we our reason for, but to reflect upon ourselves, 
and to mind what we do, and wisely to compare 
things together, and, upon the whole matter, to 
judge what makes most for our true and lasting in- 
terest? To consider our whole selves, our souls 
as well as our bodies, and our whole duration, not 
only in this world, but in the other, not only with 
regard to time, but to eternity ? To look before us 
to the last issue and event of our actions, and to the 
farthest consequence of them, and to reckon upon 
what will be hereafter, as well as what is present ; 
and if we suspect, or hope, or fear, especially if we 



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360 

tiiakTO goo^ reason to believe^ a future state after 
death, in which we shall be happy or miserable to 
all eternity, accordiog as we manage and behave 
ourselves in this world, to resolve to make it our 
greatest design and conceroment while we are in 
this world, so to live and demean ourselves, that 
we may be of the number of those that shall be ac- 
counted, worthy to escape that misery, and to ob- 
tain that happiness, which will last and continue 
for ever ? 

And if men would but apply their minds seri- 
ously to the consideration of these things, they 
could not act so imprudently as they do; they 
would not live so by chance, and without design, 
taking the pleasure that comes next^ and avoiding 
the present evils which press upon them, without 
any regard to those that are future, and at a dis* 
tance, though they be infinitely greater and more 
considerable : if men could have the patience to de- 
bate and argue these matters with themselves, they 
could not live so preposterously as they do, pre- 
ferring their bodies before their souls, and the world 
before God, and the things which are temporal be- 
fore the things that are eternal. 

Did men verily and in good earnest believe but 
half of that to be true which hath now been de- 
clared to you, concerning the miserable state of im- 
penitent sinners in another world ; (and I am very 
sure, that the one half of that which is true concern- 
ing that state hath not been told you ;) I say, did we 
in any measure believe what hath been so imperfectly 
represented, ^* What manner of persons should we 
all be, in all holy conversation and godliness, wait- 
ing for and hastening unto (that is, making haste to 



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370 

make the best preparation we could for) the comifl^ 
of the day of God r 

I will conclude all with our Saviour's exhortation 
to his disciples, and to all others; ** Watch ye there- 
fore and pray always, that ye may be accounted 
worthy to escape all these things, and to stand be- 
fore the Sod of man ; — to whom, with the Father and 
the Holy Ghost» be all honour and glory, world , 

without end* Amen." { 

I 



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SERMON CLXV. 

THE PRESENT AND FUTURE ADVANTAGE OF A HOLT 
AND VIRTUOUS LIFE. 

What fruit had jfs then in those things^ whereof ye. 
are now ashamed 1 For the end of those things it 
death. But now being made fr^ from sin^ and 
become servants to God^ye have your fruit unto holi* 
nesSf and the end everlasting life. — Rom. ti. 21,22.* 

i 
t. 

I HAVE several times told yon, that the apostle in 
these words makes a comparison between a holjr 
and virtuous, and a sinful and vicious course of life,^ 
and sets before us the manifest inconveniences of 
the one, and the manifold advantages of the other. 

I have finished my discourse upon the first part 
of the comparison — the manifest inconveniences of 
a sinful and vicious course. I proceed now to the 
other part of the comparison, which was the 

Second thing I propounded to speak to from these 
words ; viz. the manifold benefits and advantages of a 
holy and virtuous course ; and that upon these two 
accounts : 

First, Of the present benefit and advantage of it^ 
which the apostle here calls fruit, ** Ye have your 
fruit unto holiness." 

Secondly, In respect of the future reward of it^ 
'* and the end everlasting life.'' So that here is a 
considerable earnest in hand, besides a mighty re^ 
compence afterwards, infinitely beyond* the pro- 
portion of our best actions and services, both in r 
gard of the greatness smd duration of it, '^ everla^ 



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372 

iDg life;'' that is, for a few transient acts of obedi* 
ence, a perfect, and immutable^ and endless state of 
happiness. And these two the apostle mentions in 
opposition to the inconveniencies and evil conse- 
quences of a wicked and vicious course; **What 
fruit had you then in those things?" &c. 

But before I come to speak to these two particu- 
lars, 1 shall take notice of the description which the 
apostle here makes of the change from a state of sin 
and vice to a state of holiness and virtue. '' But now, 
^ing made free from sin, and become the servants 
of God ;" intimating that the state of sin is a state 
pf servitude and slavery, from which repentance and 
the change which is thereby made does set us free ; 
*^ But now, b.eiug made free from sin." And so our 
Saviour tells us^ that ** whosoever committeth sin is 
the servant of sin ;*' and this is the vilest and hardest 
slavery in the world, because it is the servitude of 
the soul, the best and noblest part of ourselves ; 
it is the subjection of our reason, which ought to 
rule and bear sway over the inferior faculties, to our 
sensual appetites and brutish passions; which is 
as uncomely a sight, as to see b^gars ride on 
horseback, and princes walk on foot. And as in- 
ferior persons, when they are advanced to power, 
are strangely insolent and tyrannical towards those 
that are subject to them ; so the lusts and passions 
of men, when they once get the command of them^ 
are the most domineering tyrants in the world ; and 
there is no such slave as a man that is subject to his 
appetite and lust, that is under the power of irregu- 
lar passions and vicious inclinations, which transport 
and hurry'him to the vilest and most unreasonable 
things. For a wicked man is a slave to as many 
masters as he hath passions and vices : and they are 



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373 

very imperious and exacting; and the more he yields 
to them, the more they grow upon him, and exercise 
the greater tyranny over him; and being subject 
to so many masters, the poof slave is continually 
divided and distracted between their contrary com- 
mands and impositions; one passion hurries him 
one way, and another as violently drives him ano- 
ther; one lust commands him upon such a service, 
and another^ it may be, at the same time calls him 
to another work. His pride and ambition bids him 
spend and lay it out, whilst his covetousness holds 
his hand fast closed ; so that he knows not many 
times how to dispose of himself, or what to do, he 
must displease some of his masters, and what incli* 
nation soever he contradicts, he certainly displeaseth 
himself 

And that which aggravates the misery of his con- 
dition is, that he voluntarily submits to this ser- 
vitude. In other cases mea are made slaves against 
their wills, and are brought under the force and 
power of others, whom they are not able to resist ; 
but the sinner chooseth this servitude, and willingly 
puts his neck under this yoke. There are few men 
in the world so sick of their liberty, and so weary 
of their own happiness, as to choose this condition ; 
but the sinner sells himself, and voluntarily parts 
with that liberty which he might keep, and which 
none could take from him. 

And, which makes this condition yet more in- 
tolerable, he makes himself a slave to his own ser- 
vants, to those who are born to be subject to him, 
to his own appetites and passions ; and this certainly 
is the worst kind of slavery, so much worse than 
that of mines and galleys, as the soul is more noble 
and excellent than the body. 



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374 

Men are not usually so sensible of the misery of 
this kind of servitude, because they are governed 
by sense more than reason ; but, according to a true 
judgment and estimation of things, a vicious course 
of life is the saddest slavery of all others. And 
therefore the gospel represents it as a design every 
way worthy of the Son of God, to come down from 
heaven, and to debase himself so far as to assume 
our nature, and to submit to the death of the cross, 
on purpose to rescue us from this slavery, and to 
Assert us into " the liberty of the sons of God,*' And 
this is the great design of the doctrine of the gospel, 
to free men from the bondage of their lusts, and to 
bring them to the service of God, " whose service is 
perfect freedom.** And therefore our SaViour tells 
us, (John viii. 31, 32.) that ** if we continue in his 
word," i. e. if we obey his doctrine, and frame our 
lives according to it, it will make us free J " Ye shall 
know (says he) the truth, and the truth shall make 
you free." And if we observe it, the Scripture de- 
lights very much to set forth to us the benefits and 
advantages of the Christian religion by the metaphor 
of liberty and redemption from captivity and slavery. 
Hence our Saviour is so often called the Redeemer 
and Deliverer, and is said to have "obtained eternal 
redemption for us.'* And the publishing of the gos- 
pel is compared to the proclaiming of the year of 
jubilee among the Jews, when all persons that would 
were set at liberty. (Isa. Ixi. 1 , 2.)" The Spirit of the 
Lord is upon me,"saith the prophet, speaking in the 
person of the Messiah, " because he hath anointed 
me to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the open- 
ing of the prison to them that are bound, to pro- 
claim the acceptable year of the Lord.** And it i8 
probable that upon this accountjikewise, the Christ- 



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375 

ian doctrine or law is by St. James called <*the royal 
law of liberty.'* 

This is the great design of Christianity, to ^t 
men free from the slavery of their lusts ; and to this 
end the apostle tells us, (Tit. ii. 14.) that ''Christ 
gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from 
all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, 
zealous of good works." And berein the great mercy 
and compassion of God towards mankind appeared, 
in that he sent his Son to rescue us from that servi- 
tude which we had long groaned under, '^ that, being 
made free fcom sin, we might become the servants of 
God,** and ** the servants of righteousness.*' 

And this he hath done, not only by the price of 
his blood, but by the power and purity of his doc- 
trine, and the holy example of bis life, and by all 
those considerations which represent to us the 
misery of our sinful state, and the infinite danger of 
continuing in it; and, on the other hand, by setting 
before us the advantages of a religious and holy life ; 
and what a blessed change we make, when we quit 
the service of sin, and become the servants of Grod. 
It will not only be a mighty present benefit to us, 
but will make us happy to all eternity ; and these 
are the two considerations which, at first, I pro* 
pounded to speak to at this time : 

First, The present benefit of a holy and virtuoug 
life, which the apostle here calls fruit ; '' But now 
being free from sin, and become the servants of God, 
ye have your fruit unto holiness." 

Secondly, The future reward and recompence of 
it ; ^' and the end everlasting life." 

First, Let us consider the present benefit and ad- 
vantage of a holy and virtuous life, which the apo- 
f tie here calls fruit If all things be truly considered. 



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376 

there is no advantage comes to any man by a wicked 
and vicious course of life. A wicked life is no pre- 
sent advantage; the reflection upon it afterwards 
is shameful and troublesome, and the end of it mise- 
rable: but, on the contrary, the advantages of a 
holy and good life are many and great even in this 
world, and upon temporal accounts, abstracting 
from the consideration of a future reward in the 
world to come. 

I shall instance in five or six eminent advantages 
which it usually brings to men in this world, 

I. It brings great peace and contentment of mind. 

II. It is a very fit and proper means to promote 
Qur outward temporal interest. 

III. It tends to the lengthening our days, and 
hath frequently the blessing of long life attending 
upon it. 

IV. It gives a man great peace and comfort when 
he comes to die. 

V. After death it transmits a good name and repu- 
tation to posterity. 

VI. It derives a blessing upon our posterity after 
us. And these are certainly the greatest blessings 
that a wise man can aim at, and design to himself 
in this world. !Elvery one of these taken severally 
is very considerable ; but all of them together com- 
plete a man's temporal felicity^ and raise it to as 
high a pitch as is to be expected in this world. 

I. A religious and virtuous course of life is the 
best way to peace and contentment of mind, and 
does commonly bring it. And to a wise man, that 
knows how to value the ease and satisftietion of his 
own mind, there cannot be a greater temptation to 
religion and virtue, than to consider that it is the 
best and only way to give rest to hi$ mind. And (his 



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377 

is present fruit, and ready payment ; because it 4m* 
mediately follo#s, or rather accompaaies, the dis- 
charge of our duty. 5<The fruit of righteousness is 
peace," saith the prophet i and the apostle to the 
Hebrews speaks of '' the peaceable fruit of righte- 
ousness,'' meaning that inward peace which a righte- 
ous man hath in his own mind* <^ 

A man needs not to take pains^ or to use many 
arguments, to satisfy and content his own mind» 
after he hath done a good action, and to convince 
himself that he hath no cause to be troubled for it» 
for peace and pleasure do naturally spring from it : 
nay, not only so» but there is an unexpressible kind 
of pleasure and delight that flows from the testimony 
of a good conscience. Let but a man take care to 
satisfy himself in the doing of his duty, and whatever 
troubles and storms may be raised from without^ all 
will be clear and calm within : for nothing but guilt 
can trouble a man's mind* and fright his conscience^ 
and make him uneasy to himself; that indeed Will 
wound his spirit, and sting his very soul, and make 
him full of fearful and tormenting thoughts. This 
Cain found after he had committed that crying sin 
of murdering his brother. (Gen. ir. 6.) ** The Lord 
said unto Gain, Why art thou wroth, and why is thy 
countenance fallen ?" His guilt made him full of 
wrath, and discontent filled his mind with vexation, 
and his countenance with shame and confusion. 
When a man's conscience is awakened to a sense of 
bis guilt it is angry and froward, and harder to be 
stilled than a peevish child; but the practice of 
holiness and virtue does produce just the contrary 
effects; it fills a man's mind with pleasure, and 
makes his countenance cheerful. 

And this certainly, if it be well considered> is no 
VOL. vii. 2 c 



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378 

smaH and cfontemptible adraDtage. The peace akici 
traDquiflity of oor minds is (he greafthing wkich aHf 
the pbilosopby and wisdom of the world did al- 
ways design to bring men to, ad the ¥ery utmost 
happiness that a wise man is capable of in this Hfe : 
and it is that which po considerate man would part 
wfth for all that this world can gire him. The greatest 
fortnne in this worM ought to be no temptation to 
any man in his wits^ to submit to perpetual sick-* 
ness and pain for the gaining of it ; and yet there 
is no disease in the world, that for the sharpness 
ofit is comparable to the sting of 4 guilty mind, 
and no pleasuire equal to that of innocence and a 
good conscience. And this naturaUy springs up. in 
the mind ofagood man, where it is not hindered 
either by a mekmcboly temper^ or by false princi- 
ple&i in religion, which fill a man with groundless 
feam and jsealousies of the iove and foyour of God 
towards him ; and excepting these two cases, this 
is the ordsnary fcuit* of a holy and good, course, 
which is not interrupted by frequent falling into sin, 
and great omissions and yiolations of our duty : for 
in this qase the interruptions of our peace and com* 
fort will naturally be aoswerable to the inequality 
o^ our obedience. 

II. Besides the present and inestimable fruit of 
holiness, the quiet and satisfaction of our own minde; 
it is likewise a proper means to promote our interest 
and happiness in this world. For as every vice is 
naturally attended with some temporal inconveni- 
ence of pain or loss ; so there is no grace or virtue, 
hut does apparently conduce to a man*s temporal 
folicity. There are some virtues which tend to the 
health of his body, and the prolonging of his Hfe, as 
temperance and chastity ; others tend to riches and 



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579 

plenty, a» diligenoe and industry m our calltngtt ; 
otbefs to the secure and peaceable enjoyment of 
what we have, as troth and fidelity, justice and ho* 
nesty in all our dealings and intercourse with mem 
There are other virtues that are apt to oblige man- 
kind to us, add to gain their friendship and good- 
will, their aid and assistance, as kindness, t|nd 
meekness, and charity, and a generoiis^ disposition 
to do good to all, as for as we have power and op- 
portunity. In a word, there is no real interest of 
this world but may ordinarily be as effBctualty pro- 
moted and pursued to as great advantage by a man 
that exercises himself in the practice of all virtue 
and goodness, and usually to far greater advantage, 
than by one that is intemperate and debauched, de« 
cdtful and dishonesty apt to disoblige and |[)rovoke, 
sour and ill-natured to all mankind: for there is none 
of these vices but is to a man's real hinderance and 
disadvantage, in regard of one kind of happiness or 
another, which men aim at and propose to tbem<- 
selves in this world. 

III. A religious and virtuous bourse of life doth 
naturally tend to the prolonging of our days, and 
hath very fVequently the blessing of health and long 
life attending upon it. The practice of a great 
manf virtues is a great preservative of Kfe and 
health, as, the doe government of our appetites and 
passions, by temperance, and chastity, and meek^ 
neSs, which prevent the chief causes from within 
of bodily diseases and distempers ; the due goverur 
ment of our tongues and conversation in respect of 
others, by justice and kindness, and abstaining 
from wrath and provocation, which are a great se* 
curity against the dangers of outward violence, ac- 
cording to that of St. Peter, (I Epist. iii- 10.) " He 

2c2 



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380 

that will love life and see good days, let him refrain 
his tougue from eiil, and his lips that they speak no 
guile; let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek 
peace, and ensue it." 

And beside the natural tendency of things, there 
is a special blessing of God which attends good 
men, and makes *^ their days long in the land which 
the Lord their God hath giv^n them." 

IV. There is nothing gives a man so much com- 
fort when he cOmes to die, as the reflection upon a 
lioly and good life: and then surely, above all other 
limes, comfort is most valuable, because our frail 
and infirm nature doth then stand most in need of 
it. Then usually men's hearts are faint, and their 
spirits low, and every thing is apt to deject and 
troublethem ; so that we had need to provide our- 
selveaofsomeexcellent cordial against that time; and 
there is no comfort like to that of a clear conscience, 
and of an innocent and useful life. This will revive 
and raise a man's spirits under all the infirmities of 
his body, because it gives a roan good hopes^ coq* 
cerning his eternal state, and the hopes of that are 
apt to fill a man with '' joy unspeakable and full of 
glory " 

The diflerence between good and bad men is 
never so remarkable in this world, as when they are 
upon their death-bed. This the Scripture observes 
to us. (Psal. xxxvii. 37.) *' Mark the perfect man^ 
and behold the upright, for the end of that man is 
peace." 

With what triumph and exultation doth the 
blessed apostle St. Paul, upon the review of his 
life, discourse concerning his death and. dissolution? 
(2 Tim. iv. ft— 8.)*" I am now i-eady (says he) to 
be offered up, and the time of my departure is at 



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381 

hand: I have foiighiagood fight, I have finished my 
course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid . 
up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord^ 
the righteous Judge, will give me at that day." What 
would not any of us do to be thus affected when we 
come to leave the world, and to be able to bear the 
thoughts of death and eternity with so quiet and 
well satisfied a mind ! Why, let us but endeavour 
to live holy lives, and to be useful and serviceable 
to God in our generation, as this holy apostle was, 
and we shall haire the same ground of joy and 
triumph which he had. For this is the proper and 
genuine effect of virtue and goodness ; " The work 
of righteousness is peace, and the effect ofrighte^ 
ousness quietness and assurance for ever/' All the 
good actions that we do in this life are so many 
seeds of comfort sown in our own consciences^ 
which will spring up one time or other, but espe- 
cially in the approaches of death, when we come to 
take a serious review of our lives ; for then men's 
consciences use to deal plainly ^nd impartially with 
them, and to tell them the truth ; and if at that 
time more especially *' our hearts condemn us not, 
then may we have comfort andxonfideuce towards 
God." 

V. A holy and virtuous life doth transmit a good 
name and reputation to posterity. And this Solo- 
mon hath determined to be a much greater happi- 
ness, than for a man to leave a great estate behind 
him : "A good name (says he) is rather to be 
chosen than great riches." Pious and virtuous mea 
do commonly gain to themselves ^ good esteem 
and reputation in this world, while they are in it ^ 
but the virtues of good men are not always so 
bright and shining as to meet with that respect and 



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acknowledgment which is due to them in this 
world. Many times they are much clouded by the 
infirmities and passions which attend them, and are 
shadowed by some affected singularities and morosU 
ties, which those which have lived more retired from 
the world are more liable to. Besides that, the 
envy of others, who are not so good as they, lies 
heavy upon them, and does depress them. For 
bad men are very apt to misinterpret the best ac* 
tions of the good, and put false colours upon them, 
and when they have nothing else to object against 
them, to charge them with hypocrisy and insin- 
cerity ; an objection as bard to be answered, as it is 
to be made good, unless we could see into the 
hearts of men. 

But when good men are dead and gone, and the 
bright and shining example of their virtues is at a 
convenient distance, and does not gall and upbraid 
others, then envy ceaseth, and every man is then 
content to give a good man his due praise, and his 
friends and posterity may then quietly enjoy the 
comfort of his reputation, which is some sort of 
blessing to him that is gone. This difference Solo- 
mon observes to us between good and bad men ; 
" The memory of the just is blessed,'' or well spoke 
of; *' but the name of the wicked shall rof 

VI. And lastly, religion and virtue do derive a 
blessing upon our posterity after us. ** O that there 
were such a heart in them (saith Moses, concern- 
ing the people of Israel), that they would fear me, 
and keep all my commandments always, that it 
might be well with them and their children for 
ever !" And to this purpose there are many pro- 
mises in Scripture of God's blessing the posterity 
of the righteous, and his shewing mercy *' to thou- 



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eauds af the diildren of tiiMa that love him, and 
Icfe^ biscommandHiMts.'^ 

And this is a gr^at motive to obedience^ and 
toaeheth upon that natural affection which mep 
bear to their children ; so that if we have any regard 
to them, or concernment for their happinessy we 
ought to be very careful of our duty, and afraid 
to offend God : tecauSO) according ad we demean 
onriielves toWbrds him, we entail a lastii^ blessing 
or a great eurse upon our children ; by so many and 
80 strong bonds bath God tied Our d«ty upon ns, 
that if we eithef desire out* own happiness, or th^ 
happiness of those thbt Are dedxest to us, and part 
of ourselvefa;, W6 must ** fear God^ and keep hicrcom* 
mandments." 

And thus I have briefly fepresented to you som^ 
of the chief benefits and advantages which a holy 
and virtuoui:} life does commonly bring to men in 
this world, which is the first encouragement men^ 
tioned in the text ; *^ Ye have your fruit unto hoH«- 
ness," 

Before I proceed to the secohd, I shall only just 
take ilotice, by way of application of what ha« been 
said on this argument, 

1. That it is a great enconragement to well-doing, 
to consider that ordinarily piety and goodness are 
no hinderance to a man s temporal felicity, but very 
frequently great pfomoters of it ^ so that^ excepting 
only the eane of persecution £cfr religion^ I think I 
may safely challenge any man to shew me how the 
practice of any part Or duty of religion, how the ejc- 
ercise of aiiy grace or virtue, is to the prejudice of «t 
man's teniporal interest, or does debar him of any 
true pleasure, or binder him of any real advantage, 
which. a prudent and considerate man would think 



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fit to choose. And as for persecution and sufferingft 
for religion, God can reward us for them, if he 
please, in this world ; and we have all the assurance 
that we can desire, that he will do it abundantly m 
the next. 

2. The hope of long life, and especially of a quiet 
and comfortable death, should be a great encourage* 
ment to a holy and virtuous life. He that lives well, 
takes the best course to live long, and lays in for a 
happy old age, free from the diseases and infirmities 
which are dbtu rally procured by a vicious youths 
aud likewise free from the guilt and galling remem- 
brance of a wicked life. And there is no condition 
-which we can fall into in this world, that does so 
clearly discover the difference between a good and 
bad man, as a death-bed : for then the good man 
begins roost sensibly to enjoy the comforts of well- 
doing, and the sinner to taste the bitter fruits of sin. 
What a wide difference is then to be seen between 
the hopes and fears of these two sorts of persons t 
and surely, next to the actual possession of blessed^ 
ness, the good hopes and comfortable prospect of it 
are the greatest happiness ; and next to actual sense 
of pain, the fear of suffering is the greatest torment. 

Though there were nothing beyond this life to be 
expected, yet if men were sure to be possessed with 
these delightful or troublesome passions when they 
come to die, no man that wisely considers things 
^ould, for all the pleasures of sin, forfeit the comfort 
of a righteous soul leaving this world full of the 
hope of immortality ; and endure the vexeition and 
imguish of a guilty conscience, and that infinite ter- 
ror and amazement which so frequently possesseth 
the soul of a dying sinner. 

3f If there be any spark of a generous mind in us, 



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it shoold animate lis to do well, that we may foe well 
spoken of when we are gone off the stage, and may 
teansmit a grateful memory of our lives to those that 
shall be after us. I proceed now to the 

Second thing I proposed, as the great advantage 
indeed ; viz« The glorious reward of a holy and vir- 
tuous life in another world, which is here called 
*' everlasting life" — " and the end everlasting life f 
by which the apostle intends to express to us, both 
the happiness of our future state, and the way and 
means whereby we are prepared and made meet to 
be made partakers of it; and that is by the con- 
stant and sincere endeavours of a holy and good 
life. For it is they only that '^ have their fruit unto 
holiness," whose end shall be " everlasting life." I 
shall speak brielSy to these two^ and so conclude my 
discourse upon this text. 

I. The happiness of our future state, which is 
here expressed by the name of ^* everlasting life," in 
very few words, but such as are of wonderful weight 
and significancy : for they import the excellency of 
this state, and the eternity of it. And who is suffi- 
cient to speak to either of these arguments ? both 
of them are too big to enter now into the heart of 
man, too vast and boundless to be comprehended 
by human understanding, and too unwieldy to be 
managed by the tongue of men and angels, answer- 
able to the unspeakable greatness and glory of them. 
And if I were able to declare tbem unto you, as they 
deserved, you would not be able to hear me. And 
therefore I shall choose to say but little upon an ar- 
gument of which I can never say enough, and shall 
very briefly consider those two things which are 
comprehended in that short description which the 
text gives us of our future happiness, by the name of 



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^cfTa-Iastiiig life;" \it. Tb€ eKcelleDGy of tUsiBlatf^ 
and the eteraity of it 

1. The elceileDcy of it, which is here represent)^ 
ed to us under the notion of life, the most de&it*able 
of all other things, because it is the ibundatioii of all 
other enjoywente whatsoever. Barely to he in bein^, 
and to be sensible that we are so^ is but a dry notion 
of life« The true notion of life is to be well and to 
be happy, vivere est bene vaiere. They who are io 
the most miserable condition that can be imagined 
are in beings and sensible also that th&y are misefa^ 
ble. But this kind of life is so £eir Arom coming un- 
der the true notion of life, that the Scripture calls it 
^'tbe second deatii/' (Rer. xxi. 8;) It is thefe said, 
that '' the wicked shall have their part in the hik^ 
that bumeth with fire and brimstone^ which Jii the 
second death/' And, (chap. xx« 6.) ^* Blessed atid 
holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection ; on 
such the second death shall have no power." So that 
a state of mere misery and torment is not life but 
death ; nay, the Scripture will not allow the life of 
a wicked man in this world to be trne life, but 
speaks of him as dead : (Ephes* iu 1.) speaking of 
the sinners among the gentiles, *' You (saith the 
apostle) liath he quickened, Who Were dead in 
trespasses and sins.'' And, which is more yet, the 
Scripture calls a life of sinful pleasures (which men 
esteem the Only happiness of this world), the Scrip- 
ture, I say, calls thit^ a death. (1 Tim. v. 6.) '* She 
that liveth in pleasure, is dead whilst she liveth**' 
A lewd and unprofitable life, which serves to no 
good end and purpose, is a death rather than a life. 
Nay, that decaying and dying life which we now 
live in this world, and which is allayed by the mix^ 
tare of so many infifQiities and pains» of so much 



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trdoble ftnd sorrow^ I say, that even this sort of life^- 
for all that we are so fondly in love with it, doe» 
hardly deserve the name of life* But the life of the 
world, to come, of which we now speak, this is life 
indeed; to do those things which we were made 
for, to serve the true ends of our being, and to ei\joy 
the comfort and reward of so doing, this is the true 
notion of life; and \rhatever is less than this, is 
death, or a degree of k, and approach towards it. 
Atid tber^re v^ well may heaven and happiness 
be described by the notbn of life, because truly to 
live and to be happy are words that signify the 
«ame thing. 

But wh&t kind of life this is, I can na more de^ 
scribe to you in the piu-ticularities of it, than CoIum« 
bus could have described the particular manners 
and customd of the people of America, before he or 
any other person in these parts of the world bad 
seen it or been there. But this I can say of it in 
general, and that from the infallible testimony of the 
great Creator and glorious inhabitants of that 
blessed place, that it is a state of pure pleasure and 
unmingled joys, of pleasures more manly, more spi^ 
ritual, and more refined^ tbaii any of the delights of 
sense, consisting in the enlargement of our minds 
and knowledge to a greater degree, and in the per<- 
fect escercise of love and friendship, in the conver- 
sation of the best and wisest company, free from 
self-interest, and all those unsociable passions of 
envy and jealousy, of malice and ill-will, which 
spoil the comfort of all conversation in this world ; 
and, in a word, free from all other passion or design 
but an ardent and almost equal desire to contribute 
all, that by all means possible they can, to the mu- 
tual happiness of one another : for charity reigns in 



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388 

heaven, and is the brightest grace and virtue 10 
the firmament of glory, for outshining all other; 
as St Paul, who had himself been taken up into 
the third heaven, does expressly declare to us. 

Farther yet, this blessed state consists more par- 
ticularly in these two things : in having our bodies 
raised and refined to a far greater purity and perfec- 
tion than ever they had in this world; and in the 
consequent happiness of the whole mao, soul and 
body, so strictly and firmly united as never to be 
parted again, and so equally matched as to be do 
trouble or impediment to one another. 

(I.) In having our bodies raised and refined to a 
greater purity and perfection than ever they had in 
this world. Our bodies, as they are now, are un- 
equally tempered, and in a perpetual flux and 
change, continually tending to corruption, because 
made up of such contrary principles and qualities 
as by their perpetual conflict are always at work, 
conspiring the ruin and dissolution of them: but 
when they are raised again, they shall be so tem- 
pered and so refined, as to be free from all those 
destructive qualities which do now threaten their 
change and dissolution : and though they shall still 
consist of matter, yet they shall be purified to that 
degree, as to partake of the immortality of our souls, 
to which they shall be united, and to be of equal 
duration with them. So the Scripture tells us, 
(1 Cor. XV. 52, 53.) " That our dead bodies shall be 
raised incorruptible: for this corruptible must put 
on incorruption, and this mortal must put on im* 
mortality.^ 

Our bodies, when they are laid in the grave, are 
vile carcasses, but they shall be raised again beauti- 
ful and glorious, and as difierent from what they 



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.389 

were before, as the heavenly mansions^ in wliich 
tbey are to reside for ever, are from that dark cell 
of the grave out of which they are raised ; and shall 
then be endowed with such a life, and strength, and 
vigour, as to be able, without any change or decay, 
to abide and continue for ever in the same state. 

Our bodies in this world are gross flesh and 
blood, liable to be affected with natural and sensual 
pleasures, and to be afflicted with natural pains and 
diseases ; to be pressed with the natural necessitieip 
of hunger and thirst, and obnoxious to all those 
changes and accidents to which all natural things 
are subject : but *' they shall be raised spiritual bo- 
dies," pure and refined from all the dregs of matter; 
they shall not hunger, nor thirst, nor be diseased, or 
in pain any more. 

^* These houses of clay, whose foundation is in 
the dust," are continually decaying; and, therefore, 
stand in need of continual reparation by food and 
physic : but ^' our house, wbich is from heaven" (as 
the apostle calls.it) shall be of such lasting and 
durable materials, as not only time, but even eter* 
nity itself, shall make no imTpression upon it, or 
cause the least decay in it. *' They (says our 
blessed Saviour) who shall be accounted worthy to 
obtain that world, and the resurrection from the 
dead, cannot die any-more : but shall be like the 
angels, and are the children of God ;" i. e. shall in 
some d^ee partake of the felicity and immortality 
of God himself, *^ who is always the same, and 
whose years fail not." Nay, the apostle expressly 
tells us, that our bodies after the resurrection shall 
be spiritual bodies, so that we shall then be as it 
were all spirit, and our bodies shall be so raised and 
refined, that they shall be no clog or impediment to 



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tlie operation of our souls. And it tnu«t needs be l 
great comfort to us whilst we are in this world, 
to live in the hopes ^f so happy and glorious a 
change; when we consider how our bodies do now 
oppress onr spirits, and what a melancholy and 
dead weight they are upon them, how grferous an 
incumbrance, and trouble, and temptation they are, 
for the most part, to us in this mortal state. 

(2.) The blessedness of this state consists, likewise. 
In the consequent happiness of the whole man, soul 
iand body, so strictly and firmly united as never to 
be parted again, and so equally matched as to be no 
trouble and impediment to one another. 

In this world the soul and body are for the most 
part very unequally yoked, so that the soul is not 
only darkened by the gross fumes and clouds which 
rise from the body, but loaded and oppressed by the 
dull weight of it, which it very heavily, lugs on and 
draws ^fterit; and the soul, likewise, and the vi- 
cious inclinations, and the irregular passions of it, 
have many times an ill influence upon the body and 
the humours of it. But in the next world they shall 
both be purified, the one from ^in, and the other 
from frailty and corruption, and both be admitted 
to the blessed sight and enjoyment of the ever^ 
blessed God. 

But the consideration of this (as I said before) is 
too big for our narrow apprehensions in this mortal 
state, and an argument not fit to be treated of by 
such children as the wisest of men are in this world; 
and whenever we attempt to speak of it, we do but 
lisjf) like children, and understand like children, and 
reason like children about it; " That which is im- 
perfect must be done away," and our souls must be 
raised to a greater perfection, and our understand- 



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391 

k^ Altet} tfitb a Btr^nger and ^toadier light, bcffore 
we can be fit to engage in so prolband a contempla- 
Ooti. We moet first have been in beaven, and pos* 
sessed of that felicity and glory which is thiere to be 
enjayedy before we can either speak or think of 
it in any measure as it deserves. In the meantime, 
whenever we set about it, we shall find our faculties 
oppressed and dazzled with the weight and splen- 
dour of'so great and glorious an argument; like St. 
Paiili, who, when he " was caught up into paradise,"* 
saw and heard those things which, when he came 
down again into this world, he was not able to ex- 
press, and which it was not possible for the tongue 
of man to utter. 

iSo that in discoursing of the state of the blessed. 
We mast content ourselves with what the Scripture 
hath revealed in general concerning it ; that it is a 
state of perfect freedom from all those infirmities 
and tmp^fections, those evils and miseries, those 
sins and temptations which we are liable to in this 
world. So St. John describes the glory and felicity 
of that state^ as they were in visions represented to 
him : (Rev. x%\. 2 — 4.) ** And I, John, saw the holy 
city, the new. Jerusalem, preparedas a bride adorned 
for her husband. And I heard a greslt voice out of 
heaven, saying. Behold the tabernacle of God is 
with n>eti, and he will dwell with them, and they 
shall be his people, and God himself shall be with 
tiieiti, and be their God. And Grod shall wipe 
away all tears from their eyes ; and there shall be 
iio more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither 
shall thdre be any more pain ; for the former things 
are passed away :" that is, all those evils which we 
saw or suffered in this world, shall for ever vanish 
and disappear; and, which is the great privilege and 



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392 

felicity of all, that there shall no sia be there: (ren 
27.) '' There shall in no wise enter into it any thing 
that defileth ; and, consequently^ there shall be no 
misery and curse there." So we read^ (chap. xxii. 
3, 4.) ** And there shall be no more curse ; but the 
throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and 
his servants shall serve him, and they shall see his 
lace." In which last words our employment and 
our happiness are expressed ; but what in particu- 
lar our employment shall be, and wherein it shall 
consist, is impossible now to describe ; it is suffi- 
cient to know in the general, that our employment 
shall be our unspeakable pleasure, and everyway 
suitable to the glory and happiness of that state^ 
and as much above the noblest and most delightful 
employments of this world, as the perfection of our 
bodies, and the powers of our souls, shall then be 
above what they are now in this world. 

For there is no doubt but that he who made us, 
and endued our souls with a desire of immortality, 
and so large a capacity of happiness, does under^ 
stand very well by what way and means to make 
us happy, and hath in readiness proper exercises and 
employments for that state, and every way more 
fitted to make us happy, than any condition or em- 
ployment in this world is suitable to a temporal 
happiness; employments that are suitable to ** the 
spirits of just men made perfect," united to bodies 
purified and refined almost to the condition of 
spirits; eniployments ^hich we shall be so far from 
being weary of, that they shall minister to us a new. 
and fresh delight to all eternity; and this, perhaps,, 
not so much from the variety, as from the perpetual 
and growing pleasure of them. 

It is sufficient for us to know this in the general^ 



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393 

and to trusttbe iafinite power, and wisdom, and good- 
ness of God, for the particular manner and circum*- 
stauces of our happiness: not doubting but &at he, 
who is the eternal and ine:Khaustible spring and 
fountain of all happiness, can and will derive and 
convey such a share of it to every one of us as he 
thinks Aty and in such ways as he, who best under- 
stands it, is best able to find out. 

In a word, the happiness of the next life shall be 
such as is worthy of the great King of the world to 
bestow upon his faithful servants, and such as is in* 
finitely beyond the just reward of their best services; 
it is to see God, i. e. to contemplate and love the 
best and most perfect of beings, and ^^ to be for ever 
with the Lord, in whose presence is fulness of joy, 
and at whose right hand there are pleasures for 



evermore." 



I will say no more upon this argument, lest I 
should say less, and because whoever ventures to 
wade far into it will soon find himself out of his 
depth, and in danger to be swallowed up and lost 
in that great abyss, which is not to be fathomed 'by* 
the shallow faculties of mortal men. 

I shall therefore only mention the 

2. Second thing I proposed to speak to; viz. the 
eternity of this happiness; '' and the end everlasting 
life:"" by which thq apostle intends to express the 
utmost perfection, but not the final period, of the 
happiness of good men in another world. For to a. 
perfect state of •happiii^S3 these two conditions are. 
requisite; that it be immutable, and that it be inter«- 
minable, that it can neither admit of a change nor 
of an end. And this is all that I shall say of it, it, 
being impossible to say any thing that is more intel- 
ligible and plain, concerning that which is infinite, 

VOL. VII. 2 D 



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394 
than that it is so. I should now have proceeded 

to the « . * 

II. Second thing I proposed; viz. By what way 
and means we may be prepared, and made meet to be 
made partakers of this happiness; and that i? (as I 
have told you all along) by the constant and sincere 
endeavour of a holy and good life; for the text 
supposeth that they only who are " made free from 
sin, and become the servants of God," and who 
" have their fruit unto holiness," are they whose end 
shall be everlasting life. But this is an argument 
which I have had so frequent occasion to speak to, 
that I shall not now meddle with it. AH that I 
shall do more at present, shall be to make an infer- 
ence or two from what hath been said upon this ar- 

' gument. 

I. The consideration of the happy state of good 
men in another world, cannot but be a great com- 
fort and support to good men under all the evils and 
sufferings of this present life. Hope is a great cor- 
dial to the minds of men, especially when the thing 
hoped for does so vastly outweigh the present griev- 
ance and trouble. The Holy Scriptures, which re- 
veal to us the happiness of our future state, do like- 
wise assure us that there is no comparison between 
the afflictions and sufferings of good men in thisworld, 
and the reward of them in the other. " I reckon, 
(siith St. Paul, Rom, viii. 18.) that the sufferings of 
this present time are not worthy to be compared 
with the glory that shall be revealed in us." 

Particularly the consideration of that glorious 
chatige which shall be made in our bodies at the re- 
surrection, ought to be a great comfort to us under 
all the pains and diseases which they are now liable 
to, and even against death iteelf. One of thfe great- 



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est bnrtfaeDS of human nature, is the frailty and in- 
firmity of our bodies, thfe necessities which thejr 
are frequently pressed withat, the diseases and 
pains to which they are liable; and the fear of 
death, liy reason whereof a great part of mankind 
are subject to bondage; against all which this is an 
everlasting^ spring of consplation to us, that the time 
is coming when we shall have other sort of bodies, 
freed from that burthen of corruption which we now 
groan under, and from all those miseries and incon- 
▼eniencies which flesh and blood are now subject 
to. For the time will come, when " these rile 
bodies","* which we now wear, '^ shall be changed, 
and fashioned like to the glorious body of the Son 
of God;" and when they shall be raised at the last 
day, they shall not be raised such as we laid them 
down, vile and corruptible, but immortal and incor- 
rnptible: for the same power which hath raised 
them up to life, shall likewise change them, and 
put a glory upon them like to that of the glorified 
body of our Lord; and when this glorious change 
is made, ** when this corruptible hatji put on incor^ 
ruption, and this mortal hath put on immortality, 
then shall come tQ pass the saying that is written. 
Death is swallowed up in victory;" and when thiis 
last enemy h perfectly subdued, we shall be set 
above all the frailties and dangers, all the tempta- 
tions and sufferings of this mortal state; there Will 
be then no fleshly lusts and brutish passions to ivar 
against the soul; no law in our members to rise up 
in rebellion against the law of our minds^ no diseases 
to torment us, no danger of death to terrify us ; all the 
motions add passions of our outward man shall then b^ 
perfectly snbject to the reason of our minds, and otit 
bodies shall partake of the immortality of our soohit 

2d2 



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396 

How should this considefaCtion bear jis up under all 
the evil? of life and the fears of djeajth, that the re- 
s^rr^ctipn will be a perfect cure of all our infirmi- 
ties and diseases, and an effectual remedy of all the 
evils that we now labour under; and that it is but 
a very little while that we shall be troubled with 
these frail, and mortal, and vile bodies, which shall 
shortly be laid in the dust, and when they are 
raised again, shall become spiritual, incorruptible, 
and glorious. 

And if our bodies shall undergo so happy a 
change, what happiness may we imagine shall then 
be conferred upon pur souls, that so much better 
and nobler part of ourselves ! as the apostle reasons 
in another case, '' Doth €rod take care^of oxen?" 
Hath he this consideration of our bodies, which 
are but the brutish part of the roan? what regard 
will he then have to his own image, that spark of 
divinity which is for ever to reside in these bodies ? 
If, upon the account of our souls, and for their sakes^ 
our bodies shall become incorruptible, spiritual, and 
glorious, then certainly our souls shall be endued 
with far more excellent and Divine qualities: if our 
bodies shall, in some degree, partake of the perfec- 
tion of our souls in their spiritual and immortal 
nature, to what a pitch of perfection shall our souls 
be raised and advanced I even to an equality with 
ai^els, and to some kind of participation of the 
Divide nature and perfection, so far as a creature is 
capable of them. 

H. The comparison which is here in the text, 
and which I have largely explained, between the 
manifest inconveniences of a sinful and vicious 
course, and the manifold advantages of a holy and 
virtuoua life, is a plain direction to us which of these 



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397 

two to choose. So that I may make the same ap- 
peal that Moses does, after that he had at large de- 
clared the blessings promised to the obedience of 
God's laws, and the curse denounced against the 
violation and transgression of them: (Deut xxx.ltf.) 
** r call heaven and earth to record against you this 
day, that I have set before you life and death, bless- 
ing and cursing; therefore choose life/' that you 
may be happy in life and death, and after death to 
all eternity. I know every one is ready to choose 
happiness, and to say with Balaam, ^' Let me die the 
death of the righteous, and let my latter end be 
like his f' but if we do in good earnest desire the 
end, we must take the way that leads to it; we must 
*^ become the servants of God," and *' have our fruit 
unto holiness," if ever we expect that ** the end shaU 
be everlasting life." 



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SERMON CLXVI. 

THE NATURE AND NECESSITY OF HOLY RESOLUTION. 

Sturdy it is meet to be said unto God^ I have borne 
chastisement^ I mil not offend any more: that^ 
which 1 see noty teach thou me ; if I have done ini- 
fuity^ I will do no more. — Job xxxiv. 31, 32. 

These words are the words of £lihu« one of Job's 
frieodSy and the only one who is not reproved for. 
hfs discourse with Job, and who was, probably, the 
author of this ancient andmosteloquentbistoryof the 
sufferings and patience of Job, and of the end which 
the Lord made with him ; and they contain in them 
a description of the temper and behaviour of a true 
penitent. " Surely it is meet,** &c. 

In which words we have the two essential parts ' 
of a true repentance. 

First, A humble acknowledgment and confes- 
sion of our sins to God; " Surely it is meet to be 
said unto €rod, I have borne chastisement." 

Secondly^ A firm purpose and resolution of 
amendment and forsaking of sin for the future; '* I 
will not offend any more: if I have done iniquity, I 
will do no more." 

First, A humble acknowledgment and confes- 
sion of our sins to God: " Surely it is meet to be 
said unto God, I have borne chastisement;" that is, 
have sinned and been justly punished for it, and am 
now convinced of the evil of sin, and resolved to 



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leave it; ** I have borne chastisemeni, I will othad 



no more.** 



Of tins first part of repentance^ viz. a humble 
confession of our sins to God, with great shame and 
sorrow for them, and a thorough conviction of the 
evil aod danger of a sinful course, I have already 
treated at large. In these repentance must b^in* 
but it must not end in them: for a penitent confes- 
sion of our sins to God, and a conviction of the evil 
of them, signifies nothing, unless it brings us to a 
resolution of aroendmeut; that is, of leavjug our sins, 
and betaking ourselves to a bett.er course. And this 
I intend, by God's assistance, to speak to now, as 
being the 

Second part of a true repentance here described 
in the text ; viz. a firm purpose and resolution ctf 
amendment, N and forsaking, of sin for the future; 
and to express it the more strongly and empliati* 
cally, and to shew the firmness of the resolution, it 
is repeated again, ** I will not offend any more ;" and 
then in the next verse, " If I have done iniquity, I 
will do no more.*" And this is so necessary a part 
of repentance, that herein the very essence and formal 
nature of repentance does consist; viz. in the firm and 
sincere purpose and resolution of a better course. 

In the handling of this argument, I shall do these 
six things : 

I. I shall shew what resolution is in general. 

II. What is the special object of this kind of reso- 
lution« 

III. What is implied in a sincere resolution of 
leaving our sins, and returning to God. 

IV. I shall shew that in this resolution of amend- 
ment, the very essence and formal nature of repept- 
ance does consist. 



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V. I shall offer some considerations to convince 
men both of the necessity and fitness of this resolu- 
tion, and of keeping steadfastly to it. ** Surely it is 
meet to be said unto God, I \?ill not offend any 



more.** 



VI. I shall add some brief directions concerning' 
the managing and maintaining of this holy and neces- 
sary resolution. 

I. What resolution in general is. It is a fixed 
determination of the will about any thing, either to 
do it, or not to do it, as upon due deliberation we 
have judged and concluded it to be necessary or 
convenient to be done, or not to be done by us: 
and this supposeth three things. 

1. Resolution supposeth a precedent deliberation 
of the mind about the thing to be resolved upon. 
For no prudent man does determine or resol? e upon 
any thing till he hath considered the thing, and 
weighed it well with himself, and hath fully debated 
the necessity and expedience of it; what advantage 
he shall have by the doing of it, and what danger 
find inconvenience will certainly, or very probably, 
redound to him by the neglect and omission of it. 
For peremptorily to determine and resolve upon any 
thing before a man hath done this, is not properly 
resolution, but precipitancy and rashness. 

2. Resolution supposeth some judgment passed 
upon the thing, after a man hath thus deliberated 
about it : that he is satisfied in his mind one way or 
other concerning it, that his understanding is con- 
vinced either that it is necessary and convenient for 
him to do it, or that it is not; and this is sometimes 
called resolution, b.ut is not that resolution which 
immediately determines a man to action. This judg- 
ment of the necessity and fitness of the thing, is not 



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the reBolutioh of the will, but of the understaDding : 
for it does not signify that a man hath fully deter- 
mined to do the thing, bat that he hath determined 
with himself that it is reasonable to be done, and 
that he is no longer in doubt and suspense whether 
it be best for him to do it or not, but is in his mind 
resolved and satisfied one way or other. And these 
are two very different things; to be resolved in one*s 
judgment, that is, to be convinced that a thing is fit 
and necessary to be done, and to be resolved to set 
upon the doing of it ; for many men are thus con- 
vinced of the fitness and necessity of the thing, who 
yet have not the heart, cannot bring themselves to 
a firm and fixed resolution to set upon the doing of 
it. So that an act of the judgment must go before 
the resolution of the will : for as he is rash that re- 
solves to do a thing before he hath deliberated about 
it; so he is blind and wilful that resolves to do a 
thing before his judgment be satisfied, whether it be 
best for him to do it or not 

3. If the matter be of considerable mbment and^ 
consequence, resolution supposeth some motion of 
the affections; which is a. kind of bias upon the 
will^ a certain propeusion and inclination that a man 
feels in himself, either urging him to do a thing, or 
withdrawing him from it. Deliberation and judg- 
ment, they direct a man what to do, or leave un^ 
done ; the affections excite and quicken a man to 
take some resolution in the matter ; that is, to do 
suitably to the judgment bis mind hath passed upon 
the thing. For instance; a great sinner reffecta 
upon his life, and considers what he hath done, what 
the course is that he lives in, and wliat the issue 
and consequence of it will probably or certaihly be, 
whether it will make him happy or raisevable in the 



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403 

cooclumoD ; and debatinf the matter calmly and 
soberly with himself, he is satisfied and convinced 
of the evil and danger of a wicked life, and conse- 
quently that it is best for him to resolve upon a 
better course; that is, to repent. Now these thoughts 
must needs awaken in him fearful apprehensions of 
the wrath of Almighty God, which is due to him 
for his sins, and hangs over him, and which he is 
every moment in danger of, if he goes on in his evil 
course. These thoughts are apt, likewise, to fill him 
with shame and confusion, at the remembrance of 
bis horrible ingratitude to God his maker, his best 
friend and greatest benefactor, and of his desperate 
folly in provoking om,oipotent justice against him- 
self; whereupon he is heartily grieved and troubled 
for what he bath done ; iand these affections of fear^ 
and shame, and sorrow, being once up, they come 
with great violence upon the will, and urge the man 
to a speedy resolution of changing his course, and 
leaving the way he is in, which he is fully convinced 
is so evil and dangerous ; and of betaking himself 
to another course, which he is fully satisfied will be 
much more for his safety and advantage. 

So that resolution, in general, is a ^xed determi- 
nation of the will ; that is, such a determination as 
is not only for the present free from all wavering and 
doubting, but such as cannot prudently be altered^ 
so long as reason remains. For the maq who, upon 
full deliberation and conviction of his mind, resolves 
upon any thing, Cannot without the imputation of 
fickleness and inconstancy quit that resolution, so 
long as he hath the same reason which he had when 
he took it up, and is still satisfied that the reason is^ 
good. For instance; the man who hath taken up 
a resolution to be sober, because of the ugliness 



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and iinreaflO)iablented» oCdrtiBkedoesei and (he tem- 
poral iQConvenienciet^, and eteroal damnatiou, which 
that SID exposeth a luan td ; if these reasons b^ 
true and good, can never prudently alter the re* 
solution which hq hath taken, and return to that 
sin again. 

II • Let us consider what is ihe special object or 
loatter of this resolution, wherein the formal nature 
of repentance does consist, what it is that a oaaa 
irbett be i-epents resolves upon ; and that I told you 
is to leave hi^ sin, and to return to God and his 
duty } and this is the resolution which the penitent 
tere described in the text lakes up, " I will iM>t 
offend any more. That which I see not, teach thou 
me'; and if I have done iniquity, 1 will do no more*^ 
He resolves against all known sin, '* I will notoffend 
any more f and if through ignorance he had sinned* 
and done contrary to his duty, be desires to be better 
instructed, that be may not offend again in the like 
kind. ♦* That which I see not, teach thou roe ; and 
if I have done iniquity, I will do no more." 

So that the true penitent resolves upon these two 
things : 

1. To forsake his sin. And, 

2. To return to God and his duty. 

1. T6 forsake his sin : and this implies the quit- 
ting of bis sinful course whatever it had been ; and 
that not only by abstaining from the outward act 
and practice of every sin, but by endeavouring to 
crucify and subdue the inward affection and incli- 
nation to it. 

And it implies farther, the utter forsaking of sin ; 
for repentance is not only a resolution to abstain 
from sin for the present, but never to i*eturn. to it 
again.' Thus Ephraim, when he repented of his 



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idolatry, he utterly renounced it, saying, ^'What 
kavt I to do any more with idolsT* (Hos. xiv. 8.) 
He that truly repents^ is resolved to break off his 
sinful course, and to abandon those lusts and vices 
which he was formerly addicted to^ and lived in. 

2. The true penitent resolves likewise to return 
to God and his duty ; he does not stay in the nega* 
tive part of religion, he does not only resolve not to 
commit any sin, but not to neglect or omit any thing 
that he knows to be his duty ; and if he has been 
ignorant of any part of -his duty, he is willing to 
know it, thisit he may do it ; he is not only deter- 
mined to forsake his sin, which vnll make him mise- 
rable, but to return to God, who alone can make 
^im happy : be is now resolved to love God, and to 
serve him as much as he hated and dishonoured 
bim before ; and will now be as diligent to perform 
and practise all the duties and parts of religion, as 
he was negligent of them before, and as ready to do 
all the good he can to all men in any kind, as he 
was careless of these things before : these, in gene- 
ral, are the things which a true penitent resolvect 
upon. I proceed to the 

II L Third thing I proposed to consider ; namely, 
what is implied in a sincere resolution of leavingour 
sins,«nd returning to God and our duty. And this 
holy resolution, if it be thorough and sincere, does 
imply in it these three things : 

1. That it be universal. 

3. That it be a resolution of the means as well as 
of the end. 

di4 That it presently comes to effect, and be 
speedily and without delay put in execution. 

1. A sincere resolution of amendment must be 
universal : a resolution to forsake all sin, and to re- 



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turn to our whole duty, and every j)art of it; such 
a resolutioD as that of holy Ds^vid, '' to hate every 
fal^e way, and to have respect to all God's com* 
mandmeDts." 

This resoluttoD must be universal, in respect of the 
whole man ; and with regard to all our actions. In 
respect of the whole man ; for we must resolve not 
only to abstain from the outward action of sin, but 
this resolution must have its effect upon our inward 
man, and reach our very hearts and thoughts ; it 
must restrain our inclinations, and '* mortify our 
lusts and corrupt affections,'' and ''renew us in the 
very spirit of our minds," as the apostle expresses it. 

And it must be universal, in respect of all our 
actions. For this is not the resolution of a sincere 
penitent, to abstain only from gross and notorious, 
from scandalous and open sins ; but, likewise, to re- 
frain from the qommission of those sins which are 
small in the esteem of men, and not branded with a 
mark of public infamy and reproach ; to forbear sin 
in secret, and when no eye of man sees us and takes 
notice of us. This is not a sincere resolution, to re- 
solve to practise the duties and virtues of religion 
in public, and to neglect them in private; to resolve 
to perform the duties. of the first table, and to pass 
by those of the second ; to resolve to serve God, 
and to take a liberty to defraud and cozen men ; to 
boi>our our Father which is in heaven, and to injure 
and bate our brethren upon earth ; '* to Iotc our 
neighbour, and to hate our enemy," as the Jews did 
of old time; to resolve against swearing, audio al- 
low ourselves the liberty to speak falsely, and tp 
break our word ; to flee from superstition, and to 
rnn into faction ; '' to abhor idols, and to commit 
sacrilege ;" to resolve to be devout ajt church, and 



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406 

deceitful in our shops ; to be very scrupulous about 
lesser matters, and to be very zealous about indif- 
ferent things ; *'to tithe mint, and anise, and cum- 
min, and to omit the weightier matters of the law, 
mercy, and fidelity, and justice ;*• to be very rigid in 
matters of faith and opinion, but loose in life and 
practice. 

No; the resolution of a sincere penitent must be 
universal and uniform ; it must extend alike to the 
forbearing of all sin, and the exercise of every grace 
and virtue, and to the due practice and perform- 
ance of every part of our duty. The true penitent 
must resolve for (be future to abstain from all sin, 
" to be holy in all manner of conversation, and to 
abound in all the fruits of righteousness, which, by 
Jesus Christ, are to the praise and glory ofGod.** 
For, if a man do truly repent of his wicked life, 
there is the very same reason why he should resolve 
against all sin, as why he should resolve against 
any; why he should observe all the command- 
ments of God, as why he should keep any one of 
them. For, as St. James reasons concerning him 
that wilfully breaks any one commandment of God, 
that *^ he is guilty of all, and breaks the whole law ;** 
because the authority of God is equally stamped 
upon all his laws, and is violated and contemned by 
the wilful transgression of any one of them ; " For 
he that hath said, Thou shah not kill, hatli likewise 
said. Thou shalt not commit adultery, and. Thou 
shalt not steal :" so he that resolves against any 
one sin, or upon performance of any one part of his 
duty, ought for the very same reason to make bis 
resolution Universal ; because on^ sin is evil and 
provoking to God, as well as another, and the per* 
formance of one part of our duty good aQd pleasing 



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to bim, as well as another, and there is do differ- 
ence. So that he that resolves against any i^, 
upon wise and reasonable grounds, because of the 
evil of it, and the danger of the wrath of God to 
which it exposeth us, ought for the satne reason to 
resolve against all sin ; because it is damnable to 
commit adultery, and to steal, as well astokiH; 
and that resolution against sin, which is not uni- 
versal, it is a plain case that it is not true and sin^ 
cere, and that it was not taken np out of the sense 
of the intrinsical evil of sin, and the danger of it in 
respect of God and the judgment of another world 
(for this reason holds against every sin, and re- 
mains always the same), but that it was taken up 
upon some inferior consideration, either because 
of the shame and infamy of it among men, or be* 
canse of some other temporal inconvenience, which 
if the man could be secured against, he would 
presently break his resolution, and return to the 
commission of that sin with as much freedom as 
any other. 

2. A sincere resolution implies a resolution of the 
means as well as of the end. He that is truly and 
honestly resolved against any sin, is likewise re^ 
solved to avoid, as much as is possible, the occa-» 
sions and temptations which may lead or draw him 
to that sin ; or if they happen to present themselves 
to him, he is resolved to stand upon his guard, and 
to resist them. In like manner, be that sincerely 
resolves upon doing his duty in any kind, must rcM 
solve upon the means that are requisite and neces^ 
sary to the due discharge and performance of thit 
duty. As he that resolves against that needless audi 
uselesa sin of swearing in common conversation/ 
mdst resolve also *' to set a guard before the door 



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408 

of his lips,*" eeeing it is certain that it requires grei^ 
care and attention, at least for some competent time, 
to get rid of a habit. 

When David resolved not to offend vvrith his 
lODgue, he resolved at the same time to be very 
watchful over himself; (PsaL xxxix, 1 •) ^'I said, I 
will take heed to my ways, that I offend not with 
my tongue : I will keep my mouth as with a bridle^ 
while the wicked is before me." For a man to re- 
solve against any sin or vice, and yet to involve him- 
self continually in the occasions, and to run himself 
into the company and temptations which do na* 
turally, and will almost necessarily, lead and betray 
him into •those sins, is a plain evidence of insin- 
cerity. This I take for a certain rule ; that whaV 
ever can reasonably move a roan to resolve npon 
any end, will, if his resolution be sincere and 
honest, determine him every whit as strongly to use 
ail those means which are necessary in order to that 
end. But of this I have spoken elsewhere. 

3. A sincere resolution of leaving our sins, and 
returning to God and our duty, does imply the pre- 
sent time, and that we are to resolve speedily and 
without delay to put this resolution in practice; 
that we are peremptorily determioed not to go one 
step farther in the ways of sin, not to neglect any 
duty that God requires of us not for one moment } 
but immediately and forthwith to set upon the prac-> 
tice of it, so soon as occasion and opportunity is 
offerdd to us. And the reason of this is evident f; 
because the very same considerations that prevail 
upon any man to take up this resolution of amend- 
mtot, and changing the course of his life, are every, 
wbit as prevalent to engage him to put this resolu- 
tion presently in practice and execution. 



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I deny not, but a nmn may rMolva upon a thing 
for tfae future, and when the time comes may exe- 
oute his resolntton, and this resolution may for all 
that be very sincere and real> though it was de- 
layed to a certain time» because he did not see rea^ 
son to resolve to do the thing sooner : but it can«- 
not be so in this case of repentance; becauae 
there can no good reason be imagined, why a man 
should resolve seven years hence to change his 
course, and break off hie sinful life, but the very 
same reason will hold as strongly, vrhy he should 
do it presently and without delay ; and over and 
besides this, there are a great many and powerfol 
reasons and considerations why he should rather 
put this good resolution in present execution, than 
put it off and defer it to any farther time wbat^ 
soever. 

What is it that puts thee upon this resolution of 
leaving thy sins, and urgeth thee to do it at all ? 
Art thou resolved to leave sin because it is so great 
an evil ? Why, it is so for the present ; the evil of it 
is intrinsical to it, and cleaves to the very nature of 
k, and is never to be separated from it ; so that this 
is a present reason, and as strong against it now, 
as ever it will be hereafter : nay, it is stronger at 
present ; because, if it be so great an evil, the sooner 
we leave it the better. 

Or dost thou resolve to forsake sin, because thou 
art apprehensive of the danger and mischief of it, 
that it will expose thee to the wrath of God, and to 
the endless and intolerable misery of another world? 
Why this reason likewise makes much more for the 
present leaving of it ; because tfae longer thou con- 
tiouest in a sinful and impenitent state, the greater 
is thy danger, and the greater penalty thou wilt 

VOL. VII. 2 K 



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410 

most certainly incur ; by delaying to put this good 
resolution in practice, thou dost increase and multir 
ply the causes of thy fear. For hereby thou pro* 
vokest God more, and every day dost incense his 
wrath more and more against thee; thou preparest 
more and more fuel for everlasting burnings, and 
treasurest up for thyself more wrath, *' against the 
day of wrath, and the, revelation of the righteous 
judgment of God." Nay, thou dost not only in- 
crease aud aggraviEite, but thou dost hereby hasten 
thine own misery and ruin, and takest the most 
effectual course that is possible, to bring thine own 
fears and the vengeance of Almighty God so much 
the sooner upon thee. For nothing provokes God 
to take a speedier course with sinners, and does 
more quicken the pace of his judgments, than wilful 
continuance in sin. 

And yet farther: if thy resolution be valuable 
and considerable to thee, thou takest the most effec- 
tual course in the world to frustrate and defeat it 
Thou art fully resolved to leave thy sins hereafter, 
and thou thinkest thou hast reason for it: but by 
continuing in them for the present, thou provokest 
the justice of Almighty God to cut thee off before 
thy resolution has taken effect. 

Again: dost thou resolve to leave thy sins one 
time or other, because thereby thou hopest to put 
thyself into a capacity of pardon and mercy, and of 
eternal life and happiness ? Why this reason should 
move thee to do the thing as soon as is posisible, be- 
cause the sooner thou forsakest thy sins, thou hast 
the greater hope of finding mercy and forgiveness 
with God; and the sooner thou beginnest a holy 
course, and the longer thou continuest therein, thou 
hast reason to expect a greater and more ample re- 



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411 

ward. Thou canst not, by holding off, hope to bring 
down pardon and mercy to lower rates, and to ob- 
tain these hereafter upon easier terms. No: the 
terms and conditions of God's mercy are already 
fixed and established^ so as never to be altered. 

So that whatever reason thou canst possibly 
all^^e for taking up this resolution, it is every whit 
as forcible and powerful to persuade thee to put it 
speedily in execution. 

And then there is this reason besides, and that a 
very considerable one, why thou shouldest immor 
diately put this resolution in practice, and not delay 
it for a moment. Thou mayest at present do it much 
more certainly, and much more easily. Much more 
certainly, because thou art surer of the present time 
than thou canst be of the future. The present is in 
thy power, but not one moment more. And thou 
mayest at present do it more easily ; for the longer 
thou continuest in sin, thy resolution against it will 
still grow weaker, and the habit of sin continually 
stronger. Thou wilt every day be more enslaved 
by the power of thy lusts, and thy heart will every 
day be more hardened through the deceitfulness of 
sin. All the change that time makes will still be 
for the worse, and more to thy disadvantage. Sin 
will be as pleasant to thee hereafter, and thou more 
loath to leave it, than at present. Sin was never 
mortified by age. It will every day have more 
strength to bind thee and hold thee fast, and thou wilt 
have every day less to break loose from it. For by 
#f€ry sin thou dost commit, thou addest a new de- 
gree to the strength and force of it ; and so much 
strength as thou addest to it, so much thou takest 
from thyselft and so much thou losest of thine own 
power and liberty* For a man and his lusts are like 

2 e2 



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41fi 

naJture and a disease; sb diqdh Mretigth air thi disease 
gains, nature loseth, and the nmn is hereby dotibfy 
weakened, for be doth not only lose so much bf fai6 
own strength, but the enfemy gets it. 

Nay, thou do^t hereby likewise forfeit that auxi- 
liary strength and assistance which the ^race of 
God is ready to afford to men, his restraining and 
hii preventing grace. For a^ a man goes on in sin, 
and advanceth in an evil course, the grace of God 
draWs off by degrees^ and his Holy Spirit doth in- 
Mnsibly leave him; and when a sinner is come 
to this, his best Resolutions will '' vanish like tbe 
fiiomitag cloudy and the e^rly dew which passeth 
away." 

So that it cannot be a true and sincere resolution 
of leaving our sins, if it do not take place, and havfe 
not its effect, presently. For there is no man that 
takes up a resolution, upon weighty and consider^ 
able reasons^ of doing any thing, but, if the reasons 
upon which he takes it up urge htm to do tbe tbmg 
at present, he will presently set about it; and that 
n^an is not resolved to do a thing, whatever he knay 
pretepd^ Who hath Inost reason to it at present, and 
may best do it now, and yet delays it. 

And thus I have opened to yon the nature of this 
holy resolution of leaving our sins, and returning to 
God and our duty^ and have shewn what is necessa- 
rily implied in duGh a resolution, if it be sincere and 
in good earnest; that it be universal; and that it be 
a resolution of the fateans as well as of the end ; and 
that it preientty take pl&ce and be put in execution. 
And these are three of the best signs and marits that 
I know of, whereby a man may try and examine the 
thith and sincerity of that resolution of amendment 
which we 6all repentan^^e. If it be against all sin. 



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413 

and have an equaFr^ard to every part of our duty; 
if, when we resolve upon the end, that is, to avoid 
8in, and to perforin our duty, we are equally re- 
solved upon the pe^os that are necessary to those 
ends; if the resolution we have taken up commence 
presently, and from that day forward be duly e^^e^ 
cuted and put in practice; then is our repentance 
and resolulion of ameadmirat sincere: but if there 
be a d^ect in any of thew, oar resolution i» not as 
it #ught to be. 



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SERMON CLXVII. 

THE NATURE AND NECESSITY OF HOLY RESOLUTION. 

Surely it is meet to he said unto God, I have borne 
chastisement, I will not offend anjf more: that 
which I see not, teach thou me; if I have done ini^ 
quittfj I will do no more. — ^Job xxxiv. 31» 32. 

These words are the description of the temper and 
behaviour of a true penitent, and do contain in them 
the two essential parts of a true repentance. 

First, A humble acknowledgment and confession 
of sin. 

Secondly, A firm purpose and resolution of amend- 
ment, and forsaking our sins for the future. 

And this latter is so necessary a part of repent- 
ance, that herein the very essence and formal nature 
of repentance does consist. In handling of this ar- 
gument, I proposed to consider, 

I. What resblution in general is. 

II. What is the special object or matter of this 
kind of resolution. 

III. What is implied in a sincere resolution of 
leaving our sins, and returning to God and our 
duty. 

IV. To shew that, in this resolution of amend- 
ment, the very essence and formal nature of repent- 
ance doth consist. 

y. To offer some considerations to convince men 
of the necessity and fitness of this resolution, and 
of keeping steadfast to it. 



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VL To add jome directions concerniog the ipa- 
nagiog and maintaining this holy resolution. The 
three first I have spoken to ; I now proceed to tfate 

IV. Fourth, To shew that in this resolution the 
very essence and formal nature of repentance doth 
consist. A man may do many reasonable actions 
without an explicit resolution. In things that are 
more easy and natural to us, judgment and resolu- 
tion are all one ; it is all one to judge a thing fit to 
be done, and to resolve to do it. But in matters of 
difficulty, when a man is to strive against the stream, 
and to oppose strong habits that have taken deep 
root, there is nothing to be done without an explicit 
resolution. No man makes any remarkable change 
in his life, so as to cross his inclinations and cus- 
tom, without an express resolution. For though a 
man's judgment be never so much convinced of the 
reasonableness and necessity of such a change ; yet, 
unless a man's spirit be fortified and fixed by reso- 
lution, the power of custom, and the violence of 
his own inclinations, will carry him against his 
judgment. Now there is no change of a man's life 
can be imagined, wherein a man off*ers greater vio- 
lence to inveterate habits, and to the strong propen- 
sions of his present temper, than in this of repent- 
ance. So that among all the actions of a man's life, 
there is none that doth more necessarily require an 
express purpose, than repentance does. 

And that herein repentance doth chiefly consist, 
I shall endeavour to make evident from Scripture, 
and from the common apprehensions of mankind 
concerning repentance. 

The Scripture, besides the several descriptions of 
repentance, useth two words to express it to us, 
pmiiJXM and /urrovoca. The former properly sigiufies 



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416 

the inward trouble and dtspletsiire which men con- 
ceiye against tfaemtelves for having done amira ; 
which if it be ic«t«1 Oeov Xvim, " a godly sorrow,'' it 
worketh in us furavwa^ afUTafjJiknra¥, as St. Paul calls 
it, ** a repentance not to be repented of;" that is, 
such a change of our minds, which as we shall have 
no cause to be troubled at, so no reason to alter af- 
terwards. And what is this but a firm, steadAi^ 
and unalterable resolution ? 

The Scripture likewise useth several phrases of 
the like importance to describe repentance by ; aa, 
forsaking and turning from sin, and conversion aad 
turning to God. Forsaking and turning from sin : 
< hence it is called, ** Repentance from dead works," 
(Heb. vi. 1.) and turning to God, (Acts xxvi. 20.) 
** I have shewed to the gentiles that they shall re- 
pent and turn to God ;" that is, from the worship of 
idols to the true God. And we have both these 
together in the description which the prophet gives 
of repentance : (Isa. Iv. 7.) '' Let the wicked for- 
sake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, 
and let him return unto the Lord.'' Now this change 
begins in the sinner^s resolution of doing this ; and 
the unrighteous man's forsaking his thoughts, is no- 
thing else but changing the purfNMie of his mind, 
and resolving upon a better course. And thos 
Lactantius describes it : Agere autem pmmtemtimm 
nihil aUud est^ quam {^Irmare el prefiteri senomam- 
pUns peceaturum : *^ To repent, is nothing else but 
for a man to declare and profess that he will ain no 
more." This is repentance before men. And ra- 
pentance before God is a resolution answerable to 
this profession. And elsewhere, sotth the aaiBe au- 
thor, ** The Greeks do most fully express repent- 
ance by the word futrivoia, became he tlwt 



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417 

recovers his roind from bui former folly, and is 
troubled at it :" et eof^irmat ammam worn ad rectw 
vhefuhm^ *^ and confirms bis mind for a better 
course." And how is this done but by a resolution ? 

And that this is the natural and true notion of 
repentance, appears, in that the heathens did coo- 
sent and agree in it. Geltius gives this description 
of it : Pwmtere turn dicere MoUmm^ ^9i qnug ipri fe* 
cimusj ea nobis post ineipiunt displiesre^ sententiamqm 
in Us nostram demutamus; '*Weare said then to 
repent, when those things which we have done be- 
gin afterwards to displease us, and we change our 
resolution about them." And so, likewise, one of 
the philosophers describes it : ** Repentance m the 
beginning of philosophy, a flying from foolish 4vords 
and actions, luuriiQafi^afukvraw IbfiK n wpdm wapwrKsmif 
and the first preparation of a life not to be re- 
pented of." 

It is true, indeed, repentance supposeth the en- 
tire change of our lives and actions, and a continued 
state, as the proper consequence of it: but n- 
pentance is but the beginning of this change, which 
takes its rise from the purpose and resolution of 
our minds ; and if it be sincere and firm, it will cer- 
tainly have this etfeet, to change our lives ; and if 
it be not no^ it is not repentance. For though iti 
tke nature of the thing k be possiUe that a man 
may sincerely resolve upon a thing, and yet let &11 
his resolntaon afterwards, before it come into act ; 
yet, in the phrase of Scripture, nothipg is caUed 
repentance Init such a resolution a& takes effiM^t, so 
soon as there is opportanity for it. If we change 
our resolution, and repent of oor ref>entance, tim 
is not that which St. Paul calls '^ Repentance unto 
juilvation." So that no man that reaids and ccsisi* 



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ders the Bible, can impose upon himself so grossly, 
as to conceit himself a trae penitent, and, conse- 
quently, to be in a state of salvation, vfho hath been 
troubled for his sins, and hath taken up a resolution 
to leave them, if he do not pursue this resolution, 
and act according to it. 

v. I shall, in the next place, propound some ar- 
guments and considerations to persuade men to 
this holy resolution, and then to keep them firm 
and steadfast to it, so as never to change it after they 
have once taken it up. 

First, I shall propound some arguments to per- 
suade men to take up this resolution ; and they are 
these: 

1. Consider that this resolution of repentance is 
nothing but what, under the influence of God's 
grace and Holy Spirit, which are never wanting to 
the sincere endeavours of men, is in your power. 
And it is necessary to premise this ; for unless this 
be cleared, all the other arguments that I can use 
will signify nothing. For nothing in the world 
could be more vain, than to take a great deal of 
pains to persuade men to do a thing which they 
cannot do, to entreat them to attempt an impossi- 
bility, and to urge and solicit them with all earnest- 
ness and importunity to do that which is absolutely 
and altogether out of their power. All the com- 
mands of God, and the exhortations of his word, 
and all the promises and threatenings whereby these 
commands and exhortations are enforced, do plainly 
suppose, either that it is in our power to do the 
thing which God commands or exhorts us to ; or 
else, if it be not (which I grant it is not), that €rod 
is ready by his grace and strength, if we be not 
wanting to ourselves, to asskt and enable us to 



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419 

those ends and purposes. Foi the gospel supposeth 
a power going along with it, and that the Holy 
Spirit of God works upon the minds of men, to 
quicken, and excite, and assist them to their duty. 
And if it were not so, the exhortations of preachers 
would be nothing else but a cruel and bitter mock- 
ing of sinners, and ap ironical insulting over the 
misery and weakness of poor creatures ; and for 
ministers to preach, or people to hear sermons, 
upon other terms, would be the vainest expense of 
time, and the idlest thing we do all the week ; and 
all our dissuasives from sin, and exhortations to 
holiness and a good life, and vehement persuasions 
of men to strive to get to heaven, and to escape hell, 
would be just as if one should urge a blind man, 
by many reasons, and arguments, taken from the 
advantages of sight, and the comfort of that sense, 
and the beauty of external objects, by all means to 
open his eyes, and to behold the delights of nature, 
to see his way, and to look to his steps, and should 
upbraid him, and be very angry with him, for not 
doing so. Why, if resolution be absolutely irapos- 
iiible to us, and a thing wholly out of our power, 
it is just the same case. But then we ought to deal, 
plainly and openly, with men, and to tell them, that 
vrhat we so earnestly persuade them to is that which 
we certainly know they cannot do. So that it is 
necessary, if I intend that the following considera- 
tions should do any good, to assure men that it is 
not impossible for them to make a resolution of 
leaving their si|i»and returning to God. 

It is a power which every man is naturally in- 
vested withal, to consider, and judge, and choose. 
To consider, that isi to weigh and compare things 
ti^ether; to judge, that is, to determine which is 



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best ; and to choose, that is, to w^scive to do it or 
not: and there is nothing more evident and mora 
universally acknowledged in temporal cases, and 
in the affairs and concernments of this life. In these 
matters resolution is a thing ordinary and of fre- 
quent practice ; it is the principle of all great and 
Considerable actions. Men resolve to be great in 
tbis world, and by virtue of this resolution, when 
they have once taken it up, what industry will they 
not use I what hazards will they not run in the pur-* 
suit of their ambitious designs I Difficulties and 
dangers do rather whet their courage, and set an 
edge upon thdr spirits. Men resolve to be rich ( 
tKe apostle speaks ef some that will be rich : 
(1 Tim. vi.) '^ They that will be rich :'' apd though 
this be but a low and mean design, yat these pef- 
soBs, by virtue of tbis resolution, will toil and take 
prodigious pains in it. 

And- as to spiritual things, every aiaii hath the 
same power radically ; that is, he hath the faculties 
of understanding and will, but these are obstructe4 
and hindered in their exercise, and strongly biassed 
a eontriary way by the power of evil inclinations 
and habits ; so that, as to the exercise of this power, 
and the effect of it in spiritual things, men are in a 
sort as much disabled as if they wwe destitute ef it 
For it is, in effect, all one, to have no understanding 
at all to consider things that are spiritual, as to 
have the understanding blinded by an invincible 
prejudice ; to have no liberty as to spiritual things, 
as to have* die will strongly biaseed against them. 
For a man that bath this prejudice npoa his under- 
standing, and lihis bias upon bis will is, to all in<r 
tents and purposes, as if be were destituted these 
faculties. But then we are not 19 understand t^ 



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431 

impotency to be abtdlntely natatttl^ but acoidentel ; 
not to be in the iEkrst fradie and constitation t>f o«r 
souls, but to haye bappeded upon the dcprayatioli of 
datui'e. It is not a want of natural facdltiesi but 
the binding of them up and hindeHng their openu 
tious to certain purposes* This impotehcy proceeds 
from the power of evil habits. And thus the 8crip* 
ture expresseth it, and compares an impotency aris« 
ing from bad habits and customs to a natural inh 
possibility; nothing coming nearer to nature^ tiwQ 
a powerful custom. ''Can the Ethiopian change 
his skin, x)r the leopard his spots? Then may 
ye also, that are aocnstomed to do eyil, learti to do 
well.** 

But now God by the gospel hath designed the re» 
u^overy of mankind from the slavery of sin« and the 
power of dieir lusts; and therefore, as, by the death 
of Christ, he hath provided a way to rensove the 
guilt of sin, so, by the Spirit of Chrtet, hefumisheth 
us with sufficient power to destroy the dominiott of 
sin. I say sufficient, if we be not wanting to our* 
selves, but be '' workers together with God," and 
be as diligent *' to work out our own salvation,'* 
as he is ready *' to work in us both fx> will aud- 
io do." 

So that, when We persuade men to repent and 
change their lives, and to resolve upon a better 
course, we do not exhort tbetn to any thing that is 
absolutely oat of their power, but to what they may 
do ; though not of themselves; yet by the grace of 
God, which is always ready to assist them, unless, 
by their former gross neglects and long obstinacy in 
an evil course, they have provoked God to withdraw 
his grace from them. So that though, considering 
our own strength abetractedly, and separately 



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422 

the grace of God| these thiags be not in our power ; 
yet the grace of God puts them into our power. 

And thuf is so far from derogating from the grace 
of God» that it is highly to the praise of it. For if 
the grace of God makes us able to repent and resol?e 
upon a new life, he that asserts this does not attri- 
bute his repentance to himself, but to the grace of 
God : nay, he that says that God's grace excites and 
is ready to assist men to do what God commands, 
represents God immensely more good and gracious, 
than he that says that God commands men to do 
that which by their natural power they cannot do, 
and will condemn them for not doing it, and yet de- 
nies them that grace which is necessary to the doing 
of it. 

Let this then be established as a necessary con- 
sideration to prevent discouragement, that to resolve 
upon the change of our lives, is that which, by the 
grace of God, we are enabled to do, if we will. Re* 
solution is no strange and extraordinary thing; it is 
one of the most common acts that belongs to us as 
we are men ; but we do not ordinarily 9pply it to 
the best purposes. It is not so ordinary for men to 
resolve to be good, as to be rich and great ; not so 
common for men to resolve against sin, as to resolve 
against poverty and suffering. It is not so usual 
for men to resolve to keep a good conscience, as to 
keep a good place. Indeed, our corrupt nature is 
much more opposite to this holy kind of resolution. 
But then to balance and answer this, God hath pro- 
mised greater and more immediate assistance to us 
in this case than in any other. There is a general 
blessing and common assistance (promised to resolu- 
tion and diligence about temporal things ; and God*s 
providence doth often advance such persons to 



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423 , 

riches and honour. ** The dili^Dt Jiand, widi God^i 
blessing, makes rich ;'' as Solomon tells ns, (Prov. x. 
4.) and, (xxii. 29.) ** Seest thou (says he) a man dili- 
gent in his business? He .shall stand before kings, 
he shall not stand before mean men T Now diligence 
is the effect of a great and vigorous resolution. 
But there is a special and extraordinary blessing 
and assistance that attends the resolution and en- 
deavour of a holy life. God hath not promised to 
strengthen men with all might in the way to riches 
and honours, and to assist the ambitious and covetous 
designers of this world with ** a mighty and glerious^ 
power, such as raised up Jesus from the dead:'' but 
this he hath promised to those, who with a firm pur- 
pose and resolution do engage in the ways of religion. 
Let us then shake off our sloth and listlessness, and 
in that strength and assistance which God offers, 
let us resolve to leave our sins, and to amend our 
lives. 

2. Consider what it is that you are to resolve upon; 
to leave your sins and to return to God and good- 
ness. So that the things I am persuading you to re- 
solve upon, are the strongest reasons that can be for 
such a resolution. Sin is such a thing, that there 
can be no better argument to make men resolve 
against it than to consider what it is, and to think 
seriously of the nature and conseq uence of it. And 
God and goodness are so amiable and desirable, 
that the very proposal of these objects, hath invita- 
tions and allurements enough to inflame our desires 
after them, and to make ns rush into the embraces 
of them. If we would but enter into the serious 
consideration of them, we should soon be resolved 
in our minds about them. 

Do but consider a little what sin is. It is the 



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abame mnd Uemish of thy nature, the reproach and 
disgrace of thy understanding and reason, the great 
deformity and disease of thy soul, and the eternal 
eaemj of thy rest and peace. It is thy shackles 
and thy fetters, the tyrant that cypresses thee and re- 
strains thee of thy liberty, and condemns thee to the 
basest slavery and the vilest drudgery. It is the un- 
natural and violent state of thy soul, the worm that 
perpetually gnaws thy conscience, the cause of all 
thy fears aad troubles, and of all the evils and mise- 
ries, all the mischief and disorders that are in the 
world ; it is the foundation and fuel of hell ; it is 
that which puts thee out of the possession and en^ 
joyment of thyself, which doth alienate and separate 
thee from God, the fountain of bliss and happiness, 
which provokes him to be thine enemy, and lays 
thee open every moment to the fierce revenge of his 
justice; and if thou dost persist and continue in it, 
will finally sink and oppress thee under the insup* 
portable weight of his wrath, and make thee so 
weary of thyself, that thou shalt wish a thousand 
times that thou hadst never been ; and will render 
thee so perfectly miserable, that thou wouldest es- 
teem it a great happiness to change thy c<»idition with 
the most wretched and forlorn person that ever lived 
upon earth, to be perpetually upon a rack, and to lie 
down for ever under the rage of all the mpst violent 
diseases and pains that ever afflicted mankind. Sin 
is all this which I have described, and will certainly 
bring upon thee all those evils and mischi^s which 
I have mentioned, and make thee far more miserable 
than I am able to express, or thou to conceive. 
And art thou not yet resolved to leave it ? Shall I 
need to use any other arguments to set thee against 
it, and take thee ofi* from the love and practice of it,. 



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425 

than thii representation which I have now made of 
the horrible nature and consequences of it? 

And then consider, on the other hand, what it is 
that I am persuading thee to turn to ; to thy God 
and duty. And would not this be a blessed change 
indeed I to leave the greatest evil, and to turn to 
the chief good ! For this resolution of returning to 
Grod, is nothing else but a resolution to be wise and 
happy, and to put thyself into the possession of 
that which is a greater good, if it is possible, than 
sin is an evil, and will render thee more happy 
than sin can make thee miserable. Didst thou but 
think what God is, and what he will be to thee if 
thou wilt return to him, how kindly he will receive 
thee after all thy wanderings from him ** days with- 
out number^'* thou wouldest soon take up the resolu- 
tion of the prodigal, and say, *^ I will arise, and go 
to my father!" 

And consider, likewise, what it is to return to thy 
duty. It is nothing else but to do what becomes 
thee, and what is suitable to the original fame of 
thy nature, and to the truest dictates of thy reason 
and conscience, and what is not more thy duty, than 
it is thy interest and thy happiness. For that which 
God requires of us is, to be righteous and holy, and 
good; that is, to be like God himself, who is the 
pattern of all perfection and happiness. It is to 
have our lives conformed to bis will, which is al waj« 
perfect holiness and goodness, a state of peaoe and 
tranquillity, and the very temper and disposition of 
happiness. It is that which is a principal and most 
essential ingredient into the felicity of the Divine 
qature, and without which God would not be what 
he is, but a deforiped, and iiqperfect, and miserable 
being. 

vol.. vit, S F 



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AS6 

And if this be a true repregeatetion which I have? 
made to yoa, of wb and vice on the one hand, and 
of God and goodness on the other, what can be 
more powerful than- the serioua consideratioii of it, 
to engage na to a speedy resolution of leaving our 
sins, and of turning and " cleaving to the Lord with 
full purpose of heart?" After this we cannot but 
conclude with the penitent in the text; "Surely 
it is meet to Ije said unto God, I will not offend any 
more : that which I see not, teach thou roe f and 
•* if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.'* 

3. Consider how unreasonable it is to be unre- 
solved in a case of so great moment and concernment. 
There is no greater argument of a man's weakness, 
than irresolution in matters of mighty consequence, 
when both the importance of the thing, and exi- 
gency of present circtimstanceia, require a speedy re- 
solution. We should account it a strange folTy, for 
a man to be unresolved in the clearest and plainest 
matters that concern hk temporal welfare and 
safety. If a man could not determine httnself whe- 
tb«r he should eat or starve ; if he were dangerously 
siek, and could not determine whether he should 
take physic or die ; or if one that were in prison, 
could not resolve himself whether he should accept 
of liberty, and be content to be released ; or if a 
fair estate were offered to him, he should desire 
•even years' timd to consider whether he should 
take it or not : this would be so absurd in the com- 
mon affairs of life, that a man would be thought 
iafii^uated, that should be doubtful and unresolved 
in eases so plain, and of such pressing concern- 
ment. If a man were under the sentence and con- 
demnation of the law, and liable tobe executed 
upon the least intimation of the prince's pleasure. 



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42T 

and a pardon were grtcionsly ^ered to'bfm, with 
this intimation, that this would probably be tKe la«( 
offer of mercy that e?er would be made to bim) 
one would tbink that in this case a man sbottld 
soon be determined what to do> or rather that be 
. should not need to deliberate at all about it ; be* 
cause there is no danger of rashness in making baste 
to save his life. 

And yet the case of a sinner is of fiir greater im« 
portance, and much more depends upon it, infinitely 
more than any temporal concernment whatsoever 
can amount to, even our happiness or misery to all 
eternity. And can there be any difficulty for a man 
to be resolved what is to be done in such a case? 
No case surely in the world can be plainer than 
this ; whether a man should leave his sins, and re^ 
turn to God and his duty, or not ; that is^ whether 
a man should choose to be happy or miserable, wn^ 
speakably and everlastingly happy, pr extremely 
and eternally miserable. 

And the circumstances and exigencies of our 
case do call for a speedy and peremptory resolutionr 
in this matter; The sentence of the law is^eady 
passed, and God may execute it upon thee every 
moment; and it is great mercy and forbearance not 
to do it. Thy life is uncertain, and thou artliable- 
every minute to be snatched away and hurried out! 
of this world. However, at the best, thou hast but 
a little time to resolve in ; death, and judgment, apd 
eternity cannot be far off, and, for aught thou know^ 
est, they mdy be even at the door. Thon art upon 
the matter just ready to be seized upon by death, to 
besummoned to judgment, and to be swallowed up: 
of eternity : and is it not yet time tbinkest ttkon to. 
resolve? Wouldest thou b^re yet a litde loogeri 

2 f2 



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4?e 

time to deliberate^ whether thou shouldest repeut 
and forsake thy sins, or not? If there were diffi* 
colty in the case, or if there were no danger in the 
delay; if thou couidest gain time, or any thing else, 
by suspending thy resolution, there were then some 
reason why thou shouldest not make a sudden de- 
. termination. But thou canst pretend none of these* 
It is evident, at first sight, what is best to be done, 
and nothing can tnake it plainer. It is not a matter 
so clear and out of the controversy, that riches are 
better than poverty, and ease better than pain, and 
life more desirable than death, as it is, that it is 
better to break off our sins, than to continue in the 
practice of them ; to be reconciled to God, than to 
go on to provoke him; to be holy and virtuous, than 
to be wicked and vicious ; to be ** heirs of eternal 
glory,'' than to be '* vessels of wrath fitted for de- 
struction.** 

And there is infinite danger in these delays. For 
if thy soul be any thiu^ to thee, thou venturest that; 
if thou hast any tenderness and regard for thy eter- 
nal interest^ thou runnest the hazard of that ; if 
heaven and hell be any thing to thee, thou incurrest 
the danger of losing one, and falling into the other. 

And thou gainest nothing by continuing unre- 
solved. If death and judgment would tarry thy 
Iei9ure» and wait till thou hadst brought thy 
thoughts to some issue, and were resolved what to 
do, it were something : but thy irresolution in tUa 
matter will be so far from keeping back death and 
judgment, that it will both hasten and aggravate 
them, both make them to come the sooner, and to 
lie the heavier when they come; because thoa 
afatuaest the goodness of God, and despiaest bis pa* 
tienceandlong-snderiog, which should lead thee, 



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4d9 

UDd draw thee on to repentance,, and not keep tiiee 
back. Hereby thou encouragest thyself in thy 
lewd and riotons courses ; and, because thy Lord 
delayeth his coming, art the more negligent and exf 
travagant. Hear what doom our Lord pronouncetk 
upon such slothful and wicked servant : (Luke xii. 
46.) *' The lord of that servant will come in a day 
when he looketh not for him, and at ^n hour when 
he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and 
will appoint him bis portion with the unbelievers;'* 
None so like to be surprised, and to be severely 
handled by the justice of God^ ajs those that trifle 
with his patience. 

4. Consider how much resolution would tend to 
the settling of our ipinds, and making our lives coqi« 
fortable. There is nothing that perplexeth and dis* 
quieteth a man more, than to be unresolved in the 
great and important concernments of his life. What 
anxiety and confusion is there in our spirits, whilst 
we are doubtful and undetermined about such mat- 
ters ? How are we divided and distracted, when ou^ 
reason and judgment direct us one way, and our 
lusts and affections bias us to the contrary? When 
we are convinced and satisfied what is best for us» 
and yet are disaffected ta our own interest. Such 
a man is all the while self-condemned, and acts with 
the perpetual regret of his reason and conscience ; 
and whenever he reflects upon himself, he is of- 
fended and angry with himself, his life and all his 
actions are uneasy and displeasing to him ; and 
there is no way for this man to be at peace, but 
to put an end to this conflict one way or other, 
either by conquering his reason or his will. The 
former is very difficult, nothing being harder than 
for a sinner to lay his conscience asleep, after it Is 



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430 

•oee dM>r<Migbljr awakened ; he may chftrm itfbr a 
while, biit erery little occasion will roase it agaiD> 
and renew his trouble ; so that though a man may 
have some truce with his conscience^ yet he can 
never come to a firm and settled peace this way ; 
but if by a vigorous resolution a man would but con- 
quer his will, his mind would be at rest, and there 
would be a present calm in his spirit. And wby 
should we be such enemies to our own peace, and 
io the comfort and contentment of our lives, as not 
to take this course^ and thereby rid ourselveli at 
once of that which really, and at the bottom, is the 
ground of all the trouble and disquiet of our lives ? 



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SERMON CLXVIII- 

THE NAtUBE AND NECESSITY OF HOLY EESO* 
LUTION. 

Smrefy it is meet to be said unto God^ I have borne 
chastisement^ I will not offend any more ; thtU 
which J see not^ teach thou me; if I have done tm* 
quity^ I will do no more. — Job xxxiv. 31, 32. 

These words are a description of the temper and 
behaviour of a true penitent/ his confession of sins^ 
and resolution of amendment. Concerning resolu- 
tion, I have shewn what it is in general : what it 
the special object or matter of this kind of resolu- 
tion : what is implied in a sincere resolution of 
leaving our sins, and returning to God and our duty£ 
that in this resolution the very essence and formal 
nature of repentance doth consist : and have offered 
some considerations, to convince men of the neces* 
sity and fitness of this resolution, and to keep tbeifli 
steadfast to it. As, 

1. That this resolution is nothing but what, under 
the influence of God*s grace, is in our power* 

% The things themselves, which we areio resolte 
upon, are the strongest arguments that can be fot 
such a resolution. 

3. How unreasonable it is for men to be unre^ 
solved in a case of so great moment. 

4. How much this resolution will tedd to the set* 
tling of our minds, and making our lives comforts 
»ble. I proceed to the cooaiderations which i^eHndni 



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5. Then be pleased to couBider, that a strong and 
Tigorous resolution would make the whole work of 
religion easy to us ; it would conquer all difficulties 
which attend a holy and religious course of life, 
especially at our first entrance into it : because re- 
solution brings our minds to a point, and unites all 
the strength and force of our souls in one great de<- 
sign, and makes ns vigorous and firm, courageous 
and constant in the prosecution of it : and without 
this it is impossible to hold out long, and to resist 
the strong propensions and inclinations of .our cor- 
rupt nature, which, if we be not firmly resolved, 
will return, and by degrees gain upon us; it will be 
fmpossible to break through temptations, and to 
gainsay the importunity of them : when the devil 
and the world solicit us, we shall not be able to say 
them nay, but shall be apt to yield to them. 

There are many who have bad faint wishes, and 
cold desires, and half purposes, of leading a new 
and better life: but having not taken up a firm 
resolution in the case, having not determined them-* 
selves by a severe purpose, a little thing sways them, 
and brings them back to their former course ; it is no 
hard matter to divert (hem and engage them another 
way ; they are " shaken with every wind" of tempt- 
ation, every little blast of oppositipn and persecu- 
tion turns them back, and carries them to the ways 
of sin : whereas resolution fixeth a man's spirit, and 
makes it most steadfast and unmoveable, and sets 
him upon a rock, which,'* when the winds blow, and 
the rain falls, and the Ooods come," abides firm 
against all impressions. 

If I would give the most probable and useful ad- 
vice to engage and continue a man in a good courcle, 
I would commend to him a deliberate and firm 



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resolution. David proved this way with very happy 
8ucce88; (Psal. cxix. lOtf.) '^I have sworn (says he) 
and will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous 
judgments." This was a security to him against 
all assaults, and nothmg could turn him from his 
course afterwards ; not the dangers he was exposed 
to, (ver. 109.) ** My soul is continually in my hand, 
yet do I not forget thy law ;** not the snares of 
wicked men that were laid for him, (ver. 1 10.) " The 
wicked have laid a snare for me, yet I erred not 
from thy precepts.** By virtue of this resolution, 
he could rise up in defiance of all those that would 
have tempted him to any sinful action: (ver. J 15.) 
" Depart from me, ye evil doers, for I will keep the 
commandments of my God.** 

When a man is thus resolved upon a holy Qourse 
he is not easily diverted from it. and is able to resist 
the importunity and flattery of temptations, and to 
say to them, as men are wont to do, when they are 
fujly and firmly resolved upon any thing, ** Let n^e 
alone, I am not to be moved, it is in vain to urge 
me, I am resolved to the contrary.'* Thus stiflTand 
resolute men can be in other cases, where there is 
not near that cause and reason for it; and if we 
would but take up a generous resolution to break 
off our sins, and to live better lives, this would be 
the way to conquer that listlessness and unwilling- 
ness which hinders us from engaging in a good 
course, and is the cause of so many lame excuses 
and unreasonable delays. It is the want of resolu- 
tion, and the weakness of our resolutions, which is 
the true reason why we are not more equal, and 
constant, and uniform in the ways of religion ; but 
are religious only by fits and starts, in a heat, and 
during some present trouble and conviction of mind. 



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^ The ciauble*ninded man is unstable (says St 
James) in all his ways.'* When a man is of several 
minds» he is easily moved one way or other. 

6. And lastly. Consider the infinite danger of 
remaining unresolved. The evil day may overtake 
you, while you are deliberating whether you should 
avoid it or not. A state of sin is liable to so many 
hazards, hath so many dangers continually thread 
ening it, and hanging over It, that it is the most im^ 
prudent thing in the world to linger in it. It is like 
Lot's staying in Sodom, when the Lord was goii^ 
to destroy it, when fire- and brimstone were just 
ready (e be rained down from heaven upon it. Whilst 
men ar0 lingering in a sinful state, if '* the Lord 
be not merciful to them," they will be consumed^ 
Therefore it concerns thee, sinner, to determine thy- 
self speedily, and to make haste out of this danger- 
ous condition, ''to escape for thy life, lest some evil 
overtake thee," and lest death, finding thee unre» 
solved, determine thy case for thee, and put it Out 
of all doubt, and past all remedy. 

How many have been cutoff in their irresolutiool 
and because they would not determine what to do> 
God hath concluded their case for them, and/' sworn 
in his wrath that they should not enter into his rest.'' 
It may be thou promisest thyself the space of many 
years to resolve in: " Thou fool, this night thy souP 
niay " be required of thee ;" and whilst thou art an* 
resolved what to do, God is resolving what to do 
with thee, and putting a period to his patience 
and long expectation of thy repentance: and thoa 
knowest not how soon God may do this, and make 
an immutable determination concerning thee« And 
woe unto thee, when God hath resolved thus ! 
Suppose thou shouldest be sniUcfaed out of the 



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4»S 

worlds aod hurriied before the dreadfal tribonal of 
God> in this doubtful and unresolved states Aud this 
is possible enough ; because thou hast no certaiti 
tenure of thy life» thou art at no time secured from 
the stroke of death : nay, it is probable enough, be* 
cause thou art every moment liable to ten thousand 
accidents^ any one of which may soap in sunder the 
thread of thy life. And suppose this should happen 
to thee, what dost thou imagine would become of 
thee? Wouldest not thou then wish a thousand times 
that thou hadst resolved in time? How glad wouldest 
thou (hen be, that it were possible for thee' to re- 
trieve ^od call back but one of those '' days without 
uumber," which thou hast so .vainly trifled away, 
that thou mightest resolve upon the things of thy 
peace! but thou wouldest not do it in that thy day^ 
which God afforded thee to this purpose ; thoU hast 
let the opportunity slip out of thy hands, and it 
will never be in thy power again, but '' the things of 
thy peace will be** for ever " hid from thine eyes.** 

Why wilt thou then be so foolish, as to run thy- 
self upoQ the evident hazard of losing heaven, and 
being mis^able for ever? Why wilt thou make 
^ork for ft sadder and longer repentance, than that 
which thou dost now so carefully decliue? This was 
the case of the foolish virgins in th# parable, (Matt, 
3txv») who made account to be ready '' to meet the. 
bridegroom" at his coming, but took no care in time . 
to get oil into their lamps. They thought the bride^ 
groom would tarry yet a while Fooger, and therefore 
*^ they slumbered and slept" in great security ; but 
at midnight, when ''the cry was made, Behold the 
bridegroom cometb ;" then they arose, and in a great 
hurry and confusion went about ''trimming their 
lamps;'' they were resolved then, they would have 



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456 

begged or boaght oil ; and would have been at any 
pains or cost for it : but then it was too late ; for 
the door was suddenly shut against them, and no 
importunity could prevail to ba?e it opened to 
them. 

Canst thou be contented to have the door shut 
against thee» and when thou shalt cry/** Lord open 
unto me/' to have him return this answer, ** Depart 
from me, I know thee not?*' If thou canst not, re- 
solve to prevent this in time. 

Didst thou but see, and know, and feel what the 
miserable do in hell, thou couldest not linger thus, 
thou couldest not continue so long unresolved. Why 
the time will come, when thou wilt reflect severely 
upon thyself, and say. That I should ever be so 
stupid and sottish, to be unresolved in a matter of 
such infinite concernment to me I How often was I 
admonished and convinced of the uecensity of change 
ing my course? How many inward motions had I 
to that purpose? How often did my own reason 
and conscience, and the Holy Spirit of God, by his 
frequent and friendly suggestions, put me upon 
this? How often was I just upon the brink of re- 
solving? I resolved to resolve ; but still I deWyed 
it till death seized upon me unresolved : and now 
the opportunity is lost, and never to be recovered 
again ! I would not in time resolve to be wise and 
happy ; and now, by the sentence of the just and 
unchangeable God, it is resolved that I must be 
miserable to all eternity ! 

How should these considerations quicken us, who 
have yet these opportunities in our hands; which 
those who n^Iected and trifled them away, would 
DOW purchase at any rate! F say, how should these 
considerations which I have proposed, move us to 



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437 ^ 

teke up a present resolution in the matter f Con- 
sider these things, sinner* and lay them seriously to 
heart, and say to thyself, FoOl that I ha?e been, to 
be unresolved so long ; not to determine myself in a 
matter of such mighty consequence; to continue so 
long in suspense, whether I had best go to heaven 
or hell, and which was most advisable, to be happy 
or miserable for ever ! Blessed be God, that hath 
been pleased to exercise so much. patience and 
long-suffering towards me, that hath spared me so 
long, when he might have taken me away, and cut 
me off unresolved ! My soul lies at stake, and, for 
aught I know, all eternity depends upon my present 
and speedy resolution. And now, by God's grace, I 
will not delay one moment more, I will hang no 
longer between heaven and hell. — I shall now, 
in the 

Second place, Offer some considerations to per- 
suade those that have taken up this good resolu- 
tion, to pursue it, and to promote it to practice 
and execution, and to keep firm and steadfast to it. 
And to this end, be pleased to consider these three 
things: 

1. What an ai^ument it is of vanity and incon- 
stancy, to change this resolution, whilst the reason 
of it stands good, and is not changed. I suppose 
that thou wert once resolved to leave thy sins, abd 
to return to God and thy duty ? Why dost thou 
not pursue this resolution? Why dost thou not 
persist in it ? Surely there appeared to thee some 
reason why thou didst take it up ; and if the reason 
remain, and appear still the same to thee that it did, 
how comes it to pass that thou hast altered'^thy 
mind, and changed thy purpose ? Either the case is 
the same it was, when thou tookest up this resolu- 



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43g 

tioKi4 ot it is not. If it be altered, then thou bast 
reason to change thy resolution : if it be not, thou 
hast the same reason tp continue in it, that tboa 
badst to take it up. Shew then, if thou can8t» 
wherein it is changed ? Wert thou mistaken be- 
fore about tbe nature of sin, and the pernicious con- 
sequences of it ; or about the nature of God and 
goodness? Hast thou any thing now to plead for 
sin, which thou didst not know or consider before^ 
Art thou now satisfied that sin is not so evil and 
unreasonable a thing as thou didst once appre- 
hend, or that it does not threaten thee with so much 
danger as thou didst fear ? Hath God altered his 
opinion of it, or is he become more favourable to it 
than he was ? Hast thou received any news lately 
from heaven by any good hands, that God hath 
reversed his threateuings against sin, or that be 
hath adjourned the judgment of the world, sine die^ 
without any set time? That he hath set the devils 
at liberty, and released them from their chains of 
darkness, and hath quenched, and put out the fire 
of hell? Or art thou satisfied that there is no such 
being as God in the world, or that he is not so 
good as thou didst apprehend him to be, or that he 
will not reward those that diligently serve him? 
Hast thou found upon trial, that holiness and virtue 
are but empty names, and there is nothing in themi 
That there is not that pleasure and peace in keep* 
ing the commandments of God which thou wert 
told of? I am sure thou canst not with reason pre- 
tend any thing of all this. Thy reason, and con- 
science, and experience cannot speak one word on 
the behalf of sin, or give any testimony against God 
aud his holy ways. And if the case be the same it 
was, nothing b^it thine own vanity and ficklenefusf", or 



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some worse reason, could move tbee to alter thy 
purpose. 

2. Let it be ferther considered, that if we be not 
constant to our resolution, all we have done is lost; 
If thou repentest of thy repentance, it will not 
prove a " repentance to salvation." As good to have 
stayed in Sodom, as to look back after thou art come 
out of it Thus God tells us by the prophet, (Ezek. 

• xxxiii. 12, 13.) ^'Therefore, thou son of man, say 
unto the children of thy people. The righteousness 
of the righteous shall not deliver him in the d^ of 
his transgression: neither shall the ris:hteous be 
able to live in the day that he sinneth. When T say 
to the righteous, he shall surely live ; if he trust to 
his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his 
righteousness shall not be remembered : but for his 
iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for 
it.'* So that, whatever we have done in the work of 
repentance, what resolutions soever we have taken 
up ; if afterwards we give over and let them fall, all 
that we have done is lost, and will come to nothing. 

3. Let us consider, in the last place, that if we be 
not constant to our resolution, we shall not only 
lose all that we have done, but we shall thereby 
render our condition much worse. ** Remember Lot's 
wife,"* who, after she was escaped out of Sodom, 
looked back, and was made a particular and last* 
ing monument of God's wrath and displeasure; 
which seems to be meant by that expression of hei^ 
being '* turned into a pillar of salt ;" that is, ** a last^ 
ing monument." (Prov. xiv.* 14.) " The backslider 
in heart shall be tilled with his own ways." "Shall 
b^ filled with his own ways ;" this expression doth 
signify a most heavy and dreadful curse upon those 
who M\ off from their good purpose and resolu^^ 



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440 

tioD, that tliey shall have sorrow and trouble eDoagh 
upon ir. For so likewise, (Prov. i. 26, 27.) where 
God threatens wilful and obstinate sinners with the 
heaviest judgments, that he would '* laugh at their 
calamity, and mock when their fear comes, when 
their fear comes as desolation, and their destruction 
as a whirlwind, and fear and anguish cometh upoQ 
them;"* he adds, as the sum of all other judgments, 
that '^ they shall eat the fruit of their own ways, and 
be filled with their own devices**' (Heb. x. 38.) ''But 
if aay man draw back, my soul shall have no plea- 
sure in him ;'' which words are a /uccoMric, and signify 
a great deal more than seems to be expressed. 
^ My soul shall have no pleasure in him ;" that is, 
let such an one expect the effects of God's fiercest 
wrath and displeasure. For so the Hebrews are 
wont to express things that are great and unspeak- 
able, when they cannot suflSciently set them forth; 
by saying less, they say more. So, (Psal. v. 4.) 
where it is said, '^ Thou art not a God that hast 
pleasure in wickedness ;" the Psalmist meanfs, and 
would have uB to understand it so, that God is so 
far from taking any pleasure in the sins of men, that 
he bears the most violent hatred and displeasure 
against them. So, when the apostle here says, *' If 
any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure 
kk him ;*' he means, that it is not to be expressed 
bow God will deal with such persons, and how se* 
verely his justice will handle them. To the same 
purpose is that declaration, (2 Pet.ii. 20, 21.) "For 
if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the 
world, through the knowledge of the Lord and 
Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled 
therein and overcome, the latter end is worse with 
them than the beginning. Fpr it had been better 



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441 

for ibeib, not to have known the way of righteous- 
ness, than after they have known it^ to turn from 
the holy commandment delirered unto them." The 
condition of all impenitent sinners is very sad ; but 
of apostates much worse : not only because the sins 
which they commit afterwards are much greater, re- 
ceiving a new aggravation, which the sins of those 
who are simply impenitent are not capable of; but 
likewii^ because such persons are usually more 
wicked afterwards. For they that break loose from 
severe purposes and resolutions of a better course, 
do by this very thing in a great measure sear and 
conquer their consciences, and then no wonder if 
afterwards ** they give up themselves to (iommit all 
iniquity with greediness." When, after long absti- 
nence men return to sin again, their lusts are more 
fierce and violent; like a man who, afl;er long fast- 
ing, returns to his meat with a more raging ap^ 
tite. This our Saviour sets forth to us in the parable 
of the unclean spirit's returning again and taking 
possession of the man, after he bad left him : (Mat£ 
xii. 43 — 45.) ** When the unclean spirit is gone 
out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seek- 
ing rest, and findeth none. Then be saith, I will 
return into my house from whence I came oiit: and 
when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and 
garnished. Then goeth he, and taketb with himself 
«even other spirits more wicked than himself; and 
the end of that man is worse than his beginning.'^ 
The moral of which isj that when a man hath once 
left bis sins, if afterward he entertain thoughts of 
returning to Uiem again, sin will return upon him 
with redoubled force and strength, and his heart 
will be so much the more prepared and disposed 
for the entertaining of more and greater vices ; and 

VOL. VII. 2 o 



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Ui 

his leaviDg kis sins for a time, will be but like a 
raDDiDg back, that he may leap wkh greater y\o- 
lesce iDto hell and dettriictioD. 

Besides that, such persons do the greatest injury 
to God and the holy ways of religion that can be^ 
by fbrmkiog them after they bare owned and ap* 
proved them. 9 For it will not be so lonch regarded^ 
what wicked men, wha have always been so, talk 
against God and religion ; because they do not talk 
fhmi experience, but ^' speak evil of the things 
whiqh they know not:" whereas those who for* 
take the ways of religion after they have once en* 
, gaged in them, do disparage religion more eflfec* 
iually, and reproach it with greater advantage ; be^ 
cause they pretend to speak from the experience 
they have had of it, they have tried both the ways 
of sin 9nd the ways of religion, and, alter experience 
of bbtb, they return to sin again : which, what is it 
but to proclaim to the world that the ways of sin 
and vice are rather to be chosen than the ways of 
holiness and virtue ; that the devil is a better master 
than God, aod that a sinful and wicked life yields 
more pleasure and greater advantages than are to 
be had in keeping the commandments of God? 
And this must needs be a high provocation, and a 
heavy aggravation of our ruin« Let these considera- 
tions prevail with us to pursue his holy resolution^ 
after we have taken it up, and to persist in it There 
Remains only the 

' VI. Sixth and last particular which I proposed to 
be spoken to ; viz. To add some dii^ections for the 
maintaining and making good of this resolution of 
repehtonce and amendment; and they shall be 
these three: 

I. Let us do all in the strength of God, consider* 



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ing our necessary and essential dependance upon 
him, and that without him and the assistance of his 
grace we can do nothing. **We are not (as the 
apostle tells us) su£Scient of ourselves, as of our- 
selves," that is, without the assistance of God's 
Holy Spirit, to think any thing that is good, much 
less to resolve upon it. ^^ It is God that woriceth 
in us both to will and to do, of his good pleasure f 
that is, of his own goodness, as the same apostle 
speaks, (Phil. ii. 13.) It is God that upholds us in 
being, and from whom we have all our power as* to 
natural actions; but as to spiritual things, consider- 
ing the great corruption and d^ravatioa of human 
nature, we stand in need of a more especial and 
immediate assistance. 

If we know any thing of ourselves, we cannot 
but know what foolish and ignorant creatures we 
are, how weak and impotent, how averse and op- 
posite to any thing that is good. And therefore it 
is wise counsel in all cases, but chiefly in spiritual 
matters, which Solomon gives, (Prov. iii. 5, 6.) "Trust 
in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thy 
own understanding. Acknowledge him in all thy 
ways, and he shall direct thy steps.*" Let us then 
address ourselves to God, in the words of the holy 
prophet : (Jer. x. 23.) ''O Lord, I know that the 
way of man is not iq himself, and that it i& not in 
man that walketh to direct his steps.** And let us 
beg of him, that he would consider our casei com- 
miserate our weakness, and pity our impotency^ 
and that he would join his strength to us, and 
grant us the assistance of his grace and Holy Spirit, 
to put us upon sincere resolutions of a new life, and 
to keep us constant and steadfast to them ; "to ' 
open the eyes of our minds, and to turn us from 

2 g2 



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dvkness t<r light, and from the power of Satan aiul 
bm lusts onto God ; that we may repent and turi% 
to God, and do works meet for repentance, that so 
we may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inherit- 
ance among them that are sanctified througb faith 
that is in Christ/' 

And for our encouragement in this matt^r^ God 
hath bid us to apply ourselves to him ; and he hath 
promised not to be wanting to us, in words as ex- 
press and universal as can well be devised : (Jam. 
if 5, 6.) " If any man lack wisdom, let him ask it of 
God, who giveth to all liberally, and upbraideth 
qo man ; but let him ask in faith, nothing wavering ;** 
that i», not doubting but that God is both able and 
willing to give what he asks. And, (Luke xi. 9 — 13.) 
*^ I say unto you. Ask, and it shall be given you ; 
seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be 
opened unto you. For everyone that asketh, re- 
oeiveth ; and he that seeketh, findeth ; and to him 
that knocketh, it shall be opened. If a son should 
ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he 
give him a stone ? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a 
fish give him a serpent ? Or if he shall ask an egg, 
\yilj he ofiier him a scorpion ? If ye then, being evil, 
know how to give good, gifts unto your children^ 
how much more shall your heavenly Father give 
the Holy Spirit to them that ask him T To encou- 
rage our faith, our Saviour useth such an argument 
as may give us the greatest assurance. We are 
commonly confident, that our earthly parents will 
iK>'t deny us those things that are good and neces* 
sary for us, though they may be otherwise evil : 
^' How much more then shall our heavenly Father/* 
^ho.is essentially and infinitely good, give his Holy 
Spirit to us ? And if this be not enough, St. Mat- 



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tfaew «8eth a larger expression, *' How mtich more 
shall your heavenly Father give good things to them 
th^t ask him r If there be any thing that is good, 
and we stand in need of it, and earnestly pray to 
<jod.for it, vre may be confident that he will giv^ 
it us. 

2, We ought to be very watchful over ourselves, 
-considering our weakness and wavering, and instar 
bility and fickleness, the treachery and deceitful- 
ness of our own hearts, and the malice of Satan. 
It will be a great while before the habits of sin be 
so weakened and subdued as that we shall have no 
propension to return to them again ; so that our 
hearts will be often endeavouring to return to their 
former posture, and, like a deceitful bow, which is 
not firmly strung, to start back. And besides the 
deceitfulness of sin and our own hearts, the devil is 
very malicious, and his malice will make him vigi- 
lant to watch all advantages against us; and his 
great design will be to shake our resolution ; for if 
that stand, he knows his kingdom will fall, and 
therefore he raiseth all his batteries against this 
fort, and labours by all means to undermine it; 
and nothing will be matter of greater triumph to 
him than to gain a person that was revolted from 
him, and resolved to leave his service. If, therefore^ 
thou expectest God*s grace and assistance to keep 
thee steadfast to thy resolution, do not neglect thy- 
self, but " keep thy heart with all diligence,** and 
watch carefully over thyself; for because ** God 
worketh in us both to will and to do,** therefore he 
expects that *^we should work out our salvation 
with fear and trembling/' lest, by our own careless- 
ness and neglect, we should miscarry. % 

3. Let us frequently renew and reinforce our 



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446 

resolutions^ more especially when we thiok of x^oin- 
ing to the sacrameut, and approaching the holy 
;table 6f the Lord. Nothing is Hiore apt to beget in 
U6 good resolutions, and to strengthen them, than 
io consider the dreadful sufferings of the Son of Giod 
for our sins, which are so lively set forth and re- 
presented to us in this holy sacrament ; which, as it 
is, oh God's part, a seal and confirmation of bis 
grace and love to us; so, on our part, it ought to 
be a solemn ratification of our covenant with God, 
'^ to depart from iniquity,'' and ^' to walk befoiie 
him in holiness and righteousoete all the days of 
our lives," 



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SERMON CLXIX, 

THE NATURE AND NECESSITY OF RESTITUTION. 

And if I have taken any thing from any man hy false 
accusation^ I restore him fourfold. And Jesus 
said unto him^ This day is salvation come to thii 
house. — Luke xix. 6, 9. 

One particular and eminent fruit of true repentance', 
is the making of restitution and satisfaction to those 
\rhom we have injured. As for God, we can make 
no satisfaction and compensation to him, for the in- 
juries we have done him by our ^ins ; all that we 
can do in respect of God, is to confess our sins to 
him, to make acknowledgment of our miscarriages, 
to be heartily troubled for what we have done, and 
not to do the like for the future. But for injuries 
done to men, we may, in many cases, make repara 
tion and satisfaction. And this, as it is one of the 
best signs and evidences of a true repentance ; so it 
is one of the most proper and genuine effects of it i 
for this is as much as in us lies to undo what we 
have done, and to unsin our sins. 

But, because the practice of this duty doth so in- 
terfere with the interest of men, and consequently it 
will be very difficult to convince men of their duty 
in this particular, and to persuade them to it; there- 
fore I design to handle this particular fruit and effect 
of a true repentance by itself, from these words, 
which contain in them, 

I. The fruit and effect of Zaccheus's conversion 



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448 

and repeqtence; '^ If I have taken any thing from 
any man, I restore him fourfold." 

IL The declaration which onr Saviour makes 
hereupon, of the truth of his repentance and con- 
version, and the happy state he was thereby put 
into. ^* And Jesus said unto him, This day is sal- 
vation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is 
the son of Abraham f as if he had said. By these 
fruits and effects it appears, th$it this is a repentance 
to salvation ; and this man whopi you look upon as 
a sinner and a heathen, may, by better right, pall 
Abraham father, than any of you formal pbarisees 
and Jews, who glory so much in being the ^' children 
of Abraham.** 

J. The fruit and effect of Zaccheus's cooversioq 
and repentance ; '' And if," &c. 

This Zaccheus, as you find at the 2d verse, was 
chief of the publicans, which was an office of grea^ 
odium and infamy among the J^ws, they being the 
collectors of the tribute which the Roman emperor, 
under whose ppwer the Jews then were, did exact 
from them. And because these publicans farmed this 
tribute of the emperor at a certain rent, they made a 
gain out of it themselves, by exacting and requiring 
more of the people than was due upon that account ; 
so that thejr calling was very infapious upon thfep 
accounts. 

1. Because they were the instruments of oppress- 
ing their countrymen ; for so they looked upon the 
tax they paid to the Romans, as a great oppression. 

2. Because they were forced by the necessity of 
their calling to have familiar conversation with 
heathens, vyhom they looked upon as sinners. 
Hence the phrase used by the apostle, of " sinners qf 
the gentiles." And hence, likewise, probably ;t is. 



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that publicans and siDiiers, publicans and heathens, 
are joined several times together, because of the 
occasions of frequent converse which the publicans 
had with the heathens. 

3. But, principally, they were odious because of 
the common injustice and oppression which they 
used in the management of their calling, by fraud 
and violence extorting more than was due, to en- 
hance the profit of their places. Hence it is, that 
this sort of officers have been generally branded, 
and reckoned among the worst sort of men. So he 

in the comedy, Ilfivrcc rcXwvac, iravric ciffcv opvayccy ** all 

publicans are rapacious or robbers." And this is 
most probably the sin which Zaccheus here repents 
jof, and in regard to which he promises restitution, 
Kal €c rivoc c(rvico^vni<ra, ** And if I have taken any thing 
from any man by false accusation f so we render 
the words in our translation : bat the word fovco;- 
^vri)^ signifies more generally, *^If I have be^n inju« 
rious to any one, if I have wronged any man,** as 
appears by the constant use of this word by the 
IjXX. who by this word do translate the most ge- 
neral Hebrew words which signify any kind of in- 
Jury or oppression, either by fraud, or violence, , or 
/calumny. So that there is no reason here to re- 
strain ^t, ** wronging men by false accusation z"" for 
^accheus's sin being in all probability extorting 
piore than was due, this might as easily be done 
piai^y other ways, as " by false accusation.*' And 
that this veas the common sin of the publicans, ap- 
pears, by the <;ounsel which John the Baptist gives 
them: (Luke iii. 12, 13.) ''Then came also the 
publicans to be baptized, and said unto him. Master, 
what shall we do ? And he said unto them, Exact 
no more tbjBtp that wh|ch is appointed you ;' that 



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18, 4o not, by A*au(l or viotence, extort from any 
flUQ more than the tri^bute wbieh is laid upon him. 

So tikat Zaccheus here promisetb, that if he had 
beeo injurious to any man in his office, by extorting 
iDore tluin was due, be would restore to hkn fbnrfold. 
And if Zaccbeus calculated his estate right, and 
intended to reserve any part of it to himself, which 
iB but reasonable to suppose, it could be no very 
great part of his estate which wtis so injuriously 
got : and I am afraid a far smaller proportion than 
vnany are g^iilty of, who yet pass for very honest 
men in comparison of the publicans. The text 
€aith, he was •* a rich man.'* Suppose he was 
worth ten or twelve thousand pounds; Imlf he 
gives to the poor, that was well got, or else his 
whole estate could not have made a fourfold resti- 
totion for it. Snppose be reserved a thousand or 
two to himself; then, at the rate of restoring four- 
Ibld, not above a thousand can be injuriously got ; 
that is, about a penny in the shilling. I am afraid 
that now-a-days there are few such moderate op- 
pressors : nay, it is possible that the proportion of 
his estate injuriously got might be much less ; more 
it could not easily be. But whatever it was, he does 
not plead that by way of excuse for himself; he 
ireely confesseth he had sinned in this kind, and 
offers restitution to the ntmost, much more than the 
law did require in such cases. 

II. You have the declaration our Savionr makels 
hereupon, of the truth of his repentance and conver- 
sion, and the happy state he was thereby put into, 
" This day is salvation come to this house.'* 

The observation I shall make from hence is this, 
that restitution and satisfaction for the injuries we 
have done to others, is a proper and genuine effect 



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of true repentance. . I know Ibe (exi only speaks ^ 
restitution Iq ease of oppression and exaction: bat, 
because there is the same reason why restitution 
should be made for all other injuries, I think I may, 
without any force or violence tto my text, very wdl 
make it the foundation of a more general disoomse 
concerning restitution. 

In handling of this, I shall. 

First, Open to you the nature of this tluty. 

Secondly, Confirm the truth of the proposition, 
by shewing the necessity of it. 

Thirdly, Endeavour to persuade men to the dis^ 
charge of this necessary duty. 

First, For the opening the nature of this duty, I 
will consider^ 

I. The act. 

II. The latitude or extent of the object, as I may 
call it, or the matter about which it is conversant. 

liL The manner how it is to be done. 

IV. The measure of it. 

y . The persons who are bound to make restito^ 
tion, and to whom it is to be made. 

VI. The lime in which it is to be done« 

YII. The order of doing it, where more are in- 
jured, and restitution cannot be made at once to all. 

I. For the act. Restitution is nothing else but 
the making reparation or satisfaction to another for 
the injuries we have done him. It is to restore a 
man to the good condition from which, contrary to 
right and to our duty, we have removed him. Re- 
stitution is only done in case of injury. Another 
man may be damaged and prejudiced by us many 
ways, and we not be bound to make restitution : 
because there are many cases wherein a man de- 
serves the prejudice we do to him : as, when we are 



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iostrumentsof iuflictiiig upoD amao the pvmishmeDt 
which the law doth sentence him to. And there 
are many cases wherein we may be prejudicial to 
others, and cannot help it : as a man that is sick of 
a contagious disease, may infect others that are 
about him : but he is not injurious to them ; becaus# 
it is not his fault but his infelicity. 

II. For the latitude and extent of the object, as I 
may call it, or the matter about which it is conver- 
sant. It extends to all kind of injuries, which may 
be reduced to these two heads ; either we injure i| 
person with or without his consent. 

1. Some injuries are dpne to persons with their 
consent. Such are most of those injiiries which are 
done to the souis of men, when we command, Of 
counsel, or encourage them to sin, or draw them in 
by our example. For the ma^icim. Volenti non Jit 
injufia^ *^ There is no injury done to a man that i« 
willing,'' is not bo to |be understood, as that a man 
may not in some sort consent to his own wrong : for 
absolute freedom and willingness supposeth that a 
man is wholly left to himself, and that he under-p 
stands fully what be does. And in this sense no 
man sins willingly ; tliat is, perfectly knowing ^nd 
actually considering what he does ; and commands, 
and persuasion, and example, are a kind of violence; 
yet none of these hinder, but that a man in these 
cases may sufficiently consent to what he does. 
But yet he is not so perfectly free, as to excuse 
him that draws him into sin by these ways. So like- 
wise when a man refuseth to do that which is his 
duty without a reward ; for instance, to do justice 
to another ; he is injurious in so doing : but yet not 
altogether without the consent of him whom he ipr 
jures. 



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2. Injuries are doD^ to persons without their coa-« 
sent. And these, though they are not always the 
greatest mischiefs, yet they are the greatest in; 
juries. And these injuries are done either by fraud 
and cunning, or by violence and oppression : either 
by overreaching another man in wit, or overbearing 
him by power. And these usually either respect 
the bodies of men, or their estates, or their good 
name. The bodies of men : he that maims another, 
or does him any other injury in his limbs or health, 
either by fraud or by force, is bound, so far as he is 
able, to make reparation for the injury. Or they 
respect the estates of men : if by cunning, or by 
violence, or by false testimony, or accusation, thou 
hast hindered a man of any benefit, which otherwise 
would have come to him, thou art bonnd to restitu- 
tion. If by thy power or interest, by thy know- 
ledge in the law, or skill in business, thou hast di- 
rectly and avowedly helped and assisted another to 
do injustice to his neighbour, thou art boupd to 
restitution ; though not as the principal, yet as the 
ficcessory. If thou hast overreached thy brother in 
any contract, making advantage of his ignorance or 
unskilfulneds ; if thou hast made again of his neces- 
sity ; if thou hast by thy power and interest, or by any 
more violent and forcible way detained his right, or 
taken away that which was his, thou art bound to 
make reparation for these injuries, to restore that 
which thou hast borrowed, to return the pledge which 
thou liast wrongfully kept, to release unconsciona- 
ble forfeitures, to pay debts, to make satisfaction 
for frauds and cheats, to take off all unjust invasions 
and surprisals of estates : yea, though the fraud be 
such that thou art not liable to make satisfaction by 
troy human law ; yet thou art as much boubd to it 



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in conscience to God and tfiy duty, as if^on hadst 
stolen or taken it by Ttolence from thy neighbour. 
For in trnth and reality, frand is as great an injury 
as yiolence, although human laws cannot take cogni- 
zance ofit, so as to relieve every roan that is over- 
reached in a bargain : nay, of the two, it is worse; 
for whenever thou deceivest a man in this kind, thou 
dost not only wrong him iii point of estate, but thou 
abusest his understanding. 

And so likewise in respect of a man's fame and 
reputation. If thou hast hurt any man's good name 
by slander oi* calumny, by false witness, by ren- 
dering him ridiculous, or any other way, thou art 
bound to give such satisfaction as the thing is ca- 
pable of; or if there be any other injury which I 
have not mentioned, thou art obliged to make repa- 
ration for it, 

in. As to the manner how restitution is to "be 
made, 

1. Thou art bound to do it voluntarily, and of thy 
own accord* though the person injured do not 
know who it was that did him the injury, though 
he do not seek reparation by law. When a man is 
forced by law to make restitution, it is not a virtue, 
but necessity ; this is not a fruit of repentance and 
a good mind, but of good law. And that thou dost 
not do it, unless the law compel thee to it, is an ar- 
gument thou wouldest not have done it, if thou 
couldest have avoided it. And though the thing 
be done, yet thou hast not done it, but the law ; and 
unless thou heartily repent of thy cirime, the injury 
Still lies at thy door, and in God's account thou 
art as guilty as if no restitution had been made. 
Not that thou art bound, in this case, to make new 
restitution over again; but thou art bound to bewail 



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thy iM^ct, tbat tfaou didst not do it volnntarily^ Mid 
witboQl the compiilsioii of the law. 

2. Thou matt do it in kiod^if the thing be capable 
of it, and the iDJured party demand it. Thou must 
restore the very thing which thou hadst deprived 
thy neighbour of, if it be such a thing as can be re- 
stored, and be still in thy power, unless he volun- 
tarily accept of some other thing in exchange. 

3. If thou canst not restore it in kind, thou art 
bound to restore it in value, in something that is as 
good. As for spiritual injuries done to the souls of 
men, we are bound to make such reparation and 
compensation as we can. Those whom we have 
drawn into sin, and engaged in wicked courses, by 
our influence and example, or by neglect of our 
duty towards them, we are, so far as becomes the 
relation we stand in to them, to make acknowledg- 
ment of our fault, to endeavour by our instruction 
and counsel to reclaim them from those sins we led 
them into, and *^ to recover them out of the snare of 
the devil ;" and should never be at rest till we have 
done as much, or more, for the furtherance of their 
salvatipn, and helping them forwards towards hea- 
ven, as we did contribute before to their ruin and 
destruction. If we have violated any one's chas- 
tity, we are bound to marry them, if it was done 
upon that condition, and if they require it ; thou art 
bound to keep and maintain those children which 
are the fruit of thy lust, and to make reparation to 
the person whom thou hast injured, by dowry or 
otherwise. 

If thoQ hast defrauded and injured any man in 
his good name, thoik art obliged to make him a com- 
pensation by acknowledgment of thy fault, by a 
studious vindication of .him, and by doing him ho- 



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Hour, and repairing bis credit ia all fitting ways^ 
And if the injury be irreparable (as it freqnently 
happens, that we can hardly so effectually vindi- 
cate a man, as y/ve can defame him ; and it is seU 
dom seen that those wounds which are given to 
men's reputation are perfectly healed), I say, if the 
injury be irreparable, especially if it prove really 
prejudicial to a man in his calling and civil interest ; 
if no other satisfaction will be accepted, it is to be 
made in maney, which, Solomon says, ** answers all 
things;*' and the rather, because the reasoa and 
equity of human laws hath thought fit to assign 
this way of satisfaction in many cases upon actions 
of scandal dnd defamation. And whatever the law 
would give, in any case, if it could be proved, that 
is the least we are bound in conscience to do, when 
we are guilty to ourselves, though the law cannot 
take hold of us. 

So likewise, if thou hast wounded a man, thou 
art bound to pay the cure, to repair to him and his 
relations the disability for his calling, and his way 
of livelihood and subsistence, which be hath con^ 
tracted by thy injury. And so for false imprison- 
ment, the real detriment which comes to him by it, 
is to be made amends for: and so, in all other case6,r 
the injured person is, so far as is possible, to be re^ 
stored to the good condition in which he was before 
the injury. 

IV« As to the measure and proportion of the 
restitution we are to make. Zaccheus here ofifers 
fourfold, which was much beyond what any law re^ 
quired in like cases. The measure of restitution by 
the judicial law of the Jews, did very much vary, 
according to the kind and degree of the injury. Ia 
some cases^ a man was only bound to simple reati* 



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tutkMi; but thra be was to do it to the fbll, (Exod.^ 
xxii. 5, 6.) And so if that ivhich is another man's; 
be ** delivered unto his umghbour tp keep, and be 
stolen from him, he is to make restitution thereof,'' 
(ver. 12.) ^' And so if a man borrow aug^t of his: 
neighbour, and it be hurt or die, the jowner thereof 
not being with it, he shall surely make it good^"' 
(ver. 14.) *' But for all manner of trespasses," by 
way of theft, *^ whether it be for ox, for ass, for 
sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing, 
which another challengeth to be his, he whom the 
judge shall condemn, shall pay double to his neigh- 
bour f (ver. 9.) that is, if it be of a living crea- 
ture, ^' if the theft be found in his hands alive,. whe«; 
ther it be ox, or ass, or sheep, he shall restore dour> 
ble," (ver. 4.) But if a man did ^* steal ab ox or a< 
sheep, and did kill it, or sell it," be was to restore ^^ five: 
oxen for an ox,* and four sheep for a sheep." ^ And 
thus we find David judged upon Nathan's parable, 
of the rich man, who had taken the poor man's only: 
lamb, and killed and dressed it for a traveller that 
came to him, (2 Sam. xii. 6.) *^ He shall restore the^ 
lamb fourfold." Now the reason of this seems toi 
be partly because of the advantage and usefulness) 
of those creatures above any other ; and partly be^ 
cause when they were once killed or aliedated, ar 
man could not, without great trouble and difficulty;^ 
make discovery ; which hazard of not discovc^dgi 
seems to be accounted for in the restitution; foul if. 
a man did volunterily offer . restitution^ before be 
was prosecuted, for any thing that was taken by 
violence, or unjustly detained from, bis i»e]gbb0furf: 
then he was only '' to restore the principal aud to 
add a fifth part thereto, and to offer up an cfString 

VOL. VII. 2 u 



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to the Lord," and so ** his atouetDeot wvlb miicle,* 
(Lerit vi. 1, &c.) 

So that the highest proportion was a fourth or 
fifth part, and that only in Uie particular case of 
sheep or oxen stolen away, and killed or alienated 
afterwards. Indeed, Solonum speaks of a seyen* 
fold restitution, (Prov. vi. 31.) where he saith, '^ If 
a thief be found, he shall restore sevenfold, even all 
the substance of bis house ;" where seven is only m 
number of perfection, and the meaning is, he shall 
make perfect and full restitution, according to the 
law, so far as his substance or estate will reach. 

So that it seems Zaccheus, in restoring fourfold, 
did outdo the utmost severity of the law; which in 
ease of fraud and oppression was but^double, if de^ 
manded ; if voluntarily offered, was the principal^ 
and a fifth part added ; but to testify the truth *of his 
repentance, and his hearty sorrow for the injuries 
be had done, he punisheth himself beyond what the 
kw would have done. 

I do not say that this ejtample biads as to this 
measure and proportion : nay, I do not say we are 
bound to the proportions of the law ; for that only 
concerned the nation of the Jews : but although 
we be free from the letter of the law, yet we are 
tied to the equity of it. As to the substance of the 
doty of restitution, we are bound to that by the law 
of nature : as to the measure and proportion, the 
equity of the judicial law in its proportions, and of 
Zaccheus's example, ought to be considerable to us. 

But to speak more particularly concerning the 
Measures and pr<^rtions of restitutien, I shall lay 
down these propositions : 

I. Where restitution can be made in kiad, or the 



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injury can be certainly valued^^e are to restore the 
thing or the valae. 

2. We are bound to restore the thing, vfiih the na- 
tural increase of it; that is, to satisfy for the loss 
sustained in the mean time, and the gain hindered. 

3. Where the thing cannot be restored, and the 
value of it is not certain, v^e are to give reasonable 
satisfaction, that is, according to a middle estima- 
tion; not the highest nor the lowest of things of the 
kind. The injured person can demand no more, 
and strict justice requires no more. But it is safe 
for him that hath done the injirry, rather to exceed 
than to fall short. 

4. We are at least to give by way of restitution 
what the law would give, for that is generally equals 
and in most cases rather favourable than rigorous. 

5. A man is not only bound to restitution for the 
injury which he did, but for all that directly follows 
upon his injurious act, though it were beyond his 
intention. For the first injury being wilful, thou 
art presumed to will all that which directly followed 
upon it, according to that rule^ Involuntarium ortum 
ex voluntaria censeturpro voluntario: *' We are pre- 
sumed to will that which follows upon a voluntary 
action, though we did not intend it." For instance, if a 
man maliciously and knowingly set fire upon another 
man's house, though he intended only an injury to that 
particular person, yet if a wind come and drive the 
fire to his neighbours' at some distance, though he 
did not intend this, yet, because the first act was ud* 
lawful, he is liable to satisfy for all the direct conse- 
quences of it. If a man wound another without any 
intention of killing him, and the wound prove mor« 
tal, though there was no probability that death 
would ensue upon it, the man is bound, because the^ 

2h2 



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first act was iDJurimis, to make reparation to fab 
relations for the damage they sustain by his death; 
and if they did depend solely upon him who died 
by such injury, thou art bound to maintain them. 

6. Because those who have lived in a trade and 
course of injustice can hardly remember all the par- 
ticular injuries they have done, so as to make exact 
satisfaction for them, it will not be amiss, over and 
besides, to give something to the poor. So Zac- 
cheus does here, " Half of my estate I give to the 
poor, and if I have taken any thing," &c. 

V. The persons who are concerned in restitution. 
And here I shall consider, 

First, The persons who are bound to make resti* 
tution. 

Secondly, The persons to whom it is to be made. 

First, The persons who are bound to make resti- 
tution. In general, they who have doqe the injury,^ 
or they who come into their stead, so as in law or 
equity the injury devolves and descends upon them. 
But for the clearer stating of this, I shall lay down 
several propositions which may serve to resolve a 
great many cases that may be put concerning per- 
sons obliged to make restitution. 

i. If the injury be done nolely by one, without 
accomplices and partakers in the crime, he alone is 
responsible, and wholly bound to make satisfaction ; 
I mean, he onlj^ is bound so long as he lives; but if 
the injury descends as a burthen upon the estate, 
then he who enjoys the estate becomes bound to 
make satisfection, as I shall shew afterwards. 

4. If the injury was done by more, who did all 
equally concur to the doing of it, they are all equally 
bound to make satisfaction, and they are bound io 
concur together to that purpose; and in case of 



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such cOQCDrrence, every one is not bound to satisfy 
for the whole, htxi pro rataparte^ for his share; pro* 
Tided they do among them mike full satisfaction. 

3. If alt will not concur, those that are willing 
are bound among them to make reparation for the 
injury : nay, if all the rest refuse to join with thee 
in it, thou art bound in soUdum to make full repa^ 
ration so far as thou art able; because every one 
was guilty of the whole injury. For instance, if 
four men conspire together to cheat a man, or to 
rob him, any one of these, if the rest refuse, is 
bound to make entire satisfaction ; yea, though he 
was only partaker in the benefit; because, as I said 
before, be is guilty of the whole injury. 

4. If the injury be done by more, who do un- 
equally concur to the doing of it, he that is prin- 
cipal is chiefly and principally bound to make satis- 
faction ; and here I do not take principal strictly in 
the sense of the law, but in the sense of equity ; not 
for him always who is the more immediate cause of 
the injury, but for him who was the greatest cause^ 
and by whose influence chiefly it was procured and 
done : but if the.principal will not, the accessories 
and instruments are bound, at least for their share, 
and according to the proportion of the hand they 
bad in it. But if the principal do satisfy in the name, 
and upon the account of the rest, then the acces- 
sories are free from an obligation to restitution, and 
are only bound to repentance. 

5. If the injury devolve upon another, by de- 
scending as a burden upon the estate, he who en- 
joys the estate is bound to make satisfaction. And 
when injuries do thus descend as burdens and in- 
cumbrances upon estates, and when not, the civil 
laws of the place where we live must determine : 



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but thea where my case fells within the compass Of 
the law^ 1 am boQod volantarily to satisfy without 
the compulsion of the law. For instance, if an 
estate fall to me charged with a debt, which hath 
been unjustly detained, I am bound voluntarily to 
discharge the debt, so soon as it appears to me, be- 
fore I am compelled thereto by the law. 

6. As for personal injuries which do not lie as 
burdens upon the estate, nor do by the law descend 
upon the son or heir, though in strict justice a man 
b^ not bound to make compensation for them, for 
that would be endless, ^t infinitum in lege repudior 
tur, " no law can take notice of that which is in^ 
finite and endless ;'' for qu^e exitum non hobent hor 
hentwr pro impossibilibus, ** those things which have 
no end, to which no bounds can be set, are esteemed 
among things impossible," to which no man can be 
obliged : but though in strict justice the heir be not 
bound to make reparation for the personal injuries 
of him whom he succeeds in the estate, yet in many 
cases it is equitable, and generous, and Christiapi 
for such persons to make some kind of reparatioci 
for palpable and qotorious injuries. For instance, 
if I be heir to an estate, part of which I know cer* 
taioly was injuriously gotten, it is not oply Christ- 
ian, but prudent, to make satisfaction in the case 
to the party injured, if certainly known; if not, to 
give it to the poor ; for by this means I may take 
out the moth which was bred by injustice in the 
estate, and rub off the rust that sticks to the gold 
and silver which was got by oppression or fraud, 
and so free the remaining part of the estate froni 
that secret and Divine Nemesis which attends it 
and follows it. And for the same reason, it is very 
fiobje an^ Christian for the son and heir of ?in un- 



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jiMit father to make sojaae reparation for his fatfaer'a 
injuries by restitution, if tbe thing be capable of it : 
if not, by doing all good offices to the injured per- 
sons, which is some kind of compensation. And 
in this case the obligation is greater, because by this 
means a mab does not only do what in him lies to 
cutoff the curse, which^ by hid father's oppression 
and injustice, is entailed upon the family and estate; 
but, likewise, because a sou ought much more to be 
concerned for his father than any other person, and 
to consult the honour and reputation both of him 
and his own family; and the reparation which the 
eon makes, is in some sort the father's act, because 
be succeeds him, and comes in his stead. 

Secondly^ As to the persons to whom satisfsiction 
is to be made. For the resolution of those cases 
which may fall under this bead, I shall lay down 
these propositions: 

1. Ifthe injured person be certainly known, and 
be alive and extant, the satisfaction is to be made 
to him. 

2. If he be not alive, or, which is all one, not to be 
found or come at, satisfaction is to be made to his 
nearest relations, his wife, or children, or brothers^ 
or other nearest kindred. The reason is, because 
satisfaction being due, and I having no right to keep 
that which I have injuriously gotten, if I cannot re- 
store it to the party himself, I ought in all reaton to 
place it there where I may most reasonably pre- 
sume the party injured would have bestowed his 
estate, and this part of it amongst the rest, had he 
been possessed of it. And by the same reason that 
I am bound thus to restore the part of his estate 
which I have injuriously taken or detained from 
h\n\, I am likewise obliged to give satisfaction to 



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464 

the same person for any other injury ; for to whom- 
soever I would pay a debt due to one that is de- 
ceased, to the same person I ought to give satisfac- 
tion for the injories by which a debt is, though not 
formally, yet virtually contracted. 

3. If the party injured be not certainly known, or 
have no near relations known to me, in that case I 
think it very advisable to give so much to the poor, 
or to some charitable use ; or if the party injured be 
not capable of proper satisfkction, as sometimes it 
is a community and body of men that you have in- 
jured ; in this case it is proper to repair the injuries 
to communities or bodies of men, by equivalent 
good offices, or by some public good work, which 
may be of common benefit and advantage. — ^This is 
the fifth thing I proposed to speak to, the persons 
concerned in restitution ; both the persons who are 
bound to make restitution, and the persons to whom 
it is to be made. Of the rest hereafter. 



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SERMON^CLXX. 

dTHE NATURE AND NECESSITY OF RESTITUTION. 

And if I have taken cmy thing from any mum by false 
accusation^ I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said 
unto himj This day is salvation come to this house. — 
Lu&E XIX. 8, 9. 

In speaking to these words, I proposed to consider, 

First, The nature of this duty of restitution. 

Secondly, To shew the necessity of it. 

Thirdly, To persuade men to the discharge of it. 

In treating of the nature of restitution, I have 
considered, 
' I. The act. 

II. The extent of it. 

III. The manner how it is to be performed. 

IV. The measure of it. 

V. The persons who are to make restitution; 
and the persons to whom restitution is to be made. 
I now proceed to consider, 

VI. The time when restitution is to be made. In 
these cases a man is not tied up to an instant, not 
just to the present time, unless the case be such 
that he can never do it, if he do not do it then. As, 
if a man lie upon his death-bed ; that is a case that 
admits of no delay, a iDan should hasten restitu* 
tion, as he would do the making of his will, and the 
disposal of his estate^ lest, if he do not do it pre* 
sently, he lose his opportunity of doihg it for ever; 
but ordinarily, a man is not so strictly tied up to 
moments, and to the present time. It is sufficient 
that a man be for the present resolved to do it so soon 



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466 

as morally lie can, so aooo as he would do other 
actions of great moment and coDcernmeDt. And to 
this purpose the text gives us an exceUent pattern ; 
Zaccbeus the same day he repeated took up this 
resolution, and to oblige himself effectually to put 
it in execution be publicly declares it, and before 
all the people offers to make restitution to all whom 
he had injured. 

Therefore take heed of all unnecessary delays in 
these matters: for though God would accept of a 
firm and sincere resolution in tbis case, if a person 
thus resolved should, before he could bring his re* 
solution to effect, happen to be cut off by death, or 
be otherwise rendered incapable of doing it; I say, 
thougb God would accept such a resolution asthis» 
yet he will not interpret tbat to be a sincere reso- 
lution which a man is negligent to put in practice; 
for every n^lect of putting our resolution in prac- 
tice, is a degree of quitting and altering it ; and he 
who did not do what he was resolved to do, when 
he had an opportunity and ability of doing it, is 
justly presumed to have let fall bis resolution. 

Therefore, let no man presume upon his good in- 
tention and resolution in tbis kind; for they are 
only acceptable to God so far as they are sincere and 
real ; and they are only so far sincere and real, as the 
man that makes them is ready to put tbem in exe* 
cution so soon as morally he can. And if thou care- 
lessly and supinely trifle away tby opportunities in 
this kind, God may likewise deprive tbeeof an op- 
portunity forever. For all the while thou wilfully 
neglectest to make restitution, (bou art guilty of the 
injury ; and there are hardly two mns tbat cry 
louder to God for a quick and speedy revenge, than 
injustice and oppression, deceit aud fraud* God 



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467 

UMtoy times takes such causes into liis more imme-^ 
diate cognisance: (1 Thess. i¥. 6s)** Let no man de- 
ceive or go beyond his brother in any thing : for 
God is the avenger of such." And David tells us, 
that God, in a peculiar manner, ** abhors the blood- 
thirsty and deceitful man ;'' and threatens that ** he 
shall not live out half his days/' And God, by the 
prophet, (Mai. iii. 5.) tells us, that ** he v«rill be a 
swift M^itness against the oppressors.'* And if God 
be so swift to take vengeance upon such persons, 
surely then they are concerned to be very quick 
and speedy in making satisfaction for their inju- 
ries and oppressions, lest Divine vengeance prevent 
them, and instead of making reparation to men, they 
be called upon to make satisfaction to the justice of 
God ; and you know who hath said it, ttiat ** it is a 
fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.'' 

You, therefore, that have hitherto neglected this 
duty, delay it no longer ; by all means discharge 
your consciences of this burden, before you come 
to lie upon a death-bed. Then the consciences of 
the worst of men begin to work, like a stomach op- 
pressed and surcharged with meat ; and then they 
are willing for their ease to vomit up those estates 
which they have devoured by fraud and injustice; 
then they begin to consider the difficulty of being 
saved, and to fear that it will be impossible for 
them ever ** to enter in at the strait gate," thus laden 
with the spoils of violence and deceit; even those 
that have the hardest and most seared consciences^ 
will be touched with the sense of such great sins at 
such a time ; but do not thou defer this work to 
that time, for these two reasons : 

1. Because it cannot be so acceptable to God, to 
make restitution at such a time, as when thou art iu 



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468 

healthy and in hopes of longer life. To give a m^ 
bis own, when thou canst enjoy, it and use it no 
longer, this is next to detaining of it 

2. Because in all probability the restitution "which 
is then made will not prove so efiectuaU What thou 
dost thyself, that thou art- sure is done : but what 
thou leavest to be dode by thy executors, and 
cbargest upon them, thou art not sure will be done; 
ten to one but if they can find out any trick and eva- 
sion in law, either to delay or avoid the doing of it, it 
shall either never be done, or very slowly. This is the 
«ixth thing, the time when restitution is to be made. 

But before I leave this head, there is one case 
very proper to be considered, which relates to this 
circumstance of time, and that is concerning inju- 
ries of a very ancient date ; that is, how far this , 
duty of restitution is to look backward, and whe- 
ther it doth not expire by tract of time ? For answer 
to this, I shall lay down these propositions : 

1. At what distance of time soever the law would 
in the case make reparation and give satisfaction, we 
are undoubtedly bound in conscience voluntarily to 
give it. I deliver this generally, because, though it 
be possible some civil laws may be in some cases 
unreasonable in this matter, yet they are our best 
rule and guide ; and, speaking generally, and for the 
most part, they are as equitable as the reason of 
man could devise. Not that we are to tie ourselves 
strictly to the law, so as not to go farther, if reason 
and equity require ; for, as Seneca says, Parum est 
ad legem bonum esse^ *^ It is no great argument of 
goodness, to be just as good as the law requires.'" 
Therefore I think it will .very well become a good 
man, in many cases, rather to be better than the law, 
than to keep strictly to it. 



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469 

i. In cases where the taw hath not determined 
the time, we may do well to observe a proportion t& 
what the law hath determined in other cases, whiehr* 
come nearest our own case. 

3. When the injury is so old, that the right which 
the injured person had to reparation is reasonably 
presumed to be quitted and forsaken, then the ob- 
ligation to satisfaction ceaseth and expires. The 
reason is plain, because every man may recede from 
his own right, and give it up to another : and where 
a man may reasonably be presumed to have parted 
with his right to another, the obligation to restitu* 
tion ceaseth, and the right of claiming it. Now 
when a thing begins haberi pro derelictOj that is, 
when a right may reasonably be presumed to be 
quitted and forsaken, cannot in general be deter^ 
mined : but this must be estimated according to the 
importance of the right and thing in controversy, as 
whether it be more or less considerable; and ac- 
cording to the reason and deterrainatioo of laws 
about things of this nature. To illustrate this role, 
by instances : — the Saxons, Danes, and Normans;, 
did at several times invade and conquer this nation,* 
and conquered it, we will suppt^e, unjustly, and 
consequently did hold and possess that which truly: 
belonged to others, contrary to right ; and several 
of the posterity of each of these do probably to this, 
day hold what was then injuriously gotten ; I say« 
in this case, the obligation to satisfaction and resti^ 
tution is long since expired, and the origitial title 
which those who were dispossessed had, is reasona- 
bly presumed to be long since quitted and (brsakeb.^ 
and that for very wise reasons in law and govern- 
ment ; because it wonld confound and unsettle all 
estates, if every thing, ^he original title whereof ia 



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473 

and restitution. So that our obligation to restitu^ 
tion is fonnded in the immutable and indispensable 
law of nature, which is— to do that to another which 
we would have another do to us. We would have 
no man be injurious to us, or if he hath been to, we 
would have him make satisfaction and r^aration to 
us of the injury he hath done; and we take it gtiev- 
ously from him if he do not. Now nothing is more 
just and equitable, than that we should do that to 
others which we, in like case, would expect from 
them : for the very same obligation that lies upon 
others towards us, does lie upon us in regard to 
others. 

II. This will yet further appear, if we consider 
the nature of repentance, which is to be sorry for 
what we have done, and not to do the like for the 
future. Now if thou be sorry for what thoii hast 
done, thou wishest with all thy heart thou badst not 
done it ; and if thou dost so,^ thou wilt undo, as 
much as in thee lieth, what tbou hast done. NoW' 
the best way to undo an injury, is to make repara-* 
tion for it; and till we do this, we continue in the 
sin. For if it was a sin to do the injury at first, it 
is the same continued, uot to make satisfaction ; and 
we do not cease to commit the sin, so long as we 
detain that which is another's right Nothing bat- 
restitution can stop the progress of sin ; for If it be- 
a sin to take that which is another man's from hioi 
by fraud and violence, it is the same continued and 
virtually repeated, to detain and keep it from him ; 
and nothing more contrary to repentance, than to^ 
continue in the sin thou pretendest to repent of« 
For how art thou sorry for doing of it, if thou con-, 
tin nest to do it, if thou wilt go on to do it, and do; 
it again ? How dost thou hate thy sin^ if thou- en*-. 



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473 

joy the be^efli;, and- reap the advantage of jt I If then 
dost this, it is an argument thou lovest thy sin stiUi 
for thou didst never love it for itself, but for the 
profit of Jt ; and so long as thou retainest that, thou 
canst not be quit of the sin. Thou boldest fast thy 
sin so long as thou refusest to make satisfactiotn 
for it ; and repentance without restitution differs ^ 
much from true repentance, as continuance in s^a 
does from the forsaking of it. Si res aliena nof^ red- 
ditur, non agitur piBnitentia, sed fingitur ; so St. 
Augustine; *' If we So not restore that which we have 
injuriously detained from another, our repentance is 
not real, but feigned and hypocritical," and will not 
be effectual to the obtaining of our pardoii. It is a 
very common, but a true and terrible saying, Nwi 
demittitur peccatum^ nisi restituatur ablatum : '* No 
remission without restitution/' If we will inh4srit 
the profit and advantage of sin, we cannot think it 
unreasonable or unjust that we should inherit the 
punishment of it. 

When the Scripture speaks of repentance, it fre- 
quently mentions restitution as a proper fruit and 
effect of it, and as a necessary and indispensable 
condition of pardon and life. (Ezek. xxxiii. 14 — 16.) 
'' Again, when I say unto the wicked. Thou shalt 
surely die : if he turn from his sin, and do that which 
is lawful and right; if the wicked restore the pledge, 
give again that he hath robbed/' &c. As if he had 
said, when I denounce death and destruction to the 
wicked, there is but this one way to escape it, and 
that is, by repentance ; but then take notice what a 
repentance it is that will avail to this end ; it is not 
a bewailing ourselves, and lamenting over our sins, 
but a forsaking of them, and returning to our duty ; 
''If we turn from our sjn, and do that which is law- 

VOL. VII. 2 J 



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474 

Ad md right.** For tnstance, if be hath bMD gHiMj 
^t iDJustice and oppression; if he teafe his course^ 
and deal justly and righteously with his neighbour, 
and not only so, but he also make restitution for the 
injury he hath done, and restore what he hath un-^ 
justly detained and taken away; ** If he restore the 
|)Iedge, and gi?e again that he hath robbed/' and do 
Ao injustice for the future, but <' walk in the statutes 
of Ufe without committing iniquity;*' upon these 
terms, and no other, ** he shall life ; he shall not 
die." Yea, the yery light of nature could suggest 
thus much to the people of Nineveh, that there was 
"no hope, without this fruit of repentance, of ap- 
peasing Ood's wrath. Therefore the king and the 
princes, after all the external solemnity of fasting 
and sackcloth, and crying mightily, they decree 
that " £very obe should return from the evil of his 
ways, and fh>m the violence that was in their hands;" 
nt f'dpina manns vacuefaciatf et tapta restitnat^ sine 
quo non est vera pcenitentia; so Orotius upon the 
place, ^'That be empty his hands of the spoils of ra- 
pine and oppression ;" that is, '* that he make restitu- 
tioUi without which there can be no repentance:*^ 
and upon their doing this, it is said that God spared 
^em, (Jonah iii. 10.) ^' And God saw their works, 
that they turned from their evil ways." It is not said, 
tliat he saw their fiisting and sackcloth, but he saw 
their works, the real fruits and efffects of their repent^ 
ance ; and upon this it was that *' God repented of 
l4ie evil he said he would do to them, and he did it 
not." And elsewhere v^e find, that God speaks with 
grefat indignatibA of the most solemn repentancef 
whith is not accompanied with this fruit : (Isa. Iviii. 
3-^-^6.) the people t^Il God how they had fasted 
and afflicted their soul, and made their voice to be 



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474 

bewd OD high : but God detpisatb all Uiu, becauM 
it was not acconpanied with this fruit of repeotaoce: 
*^Is it such^ fiu3t as I have chosen?^ &c. There is 
so nuch of natoral justice aud equity in restitution, 
and it is so proper a froit of repentance, that, as 
GrotipM. observes, it is not only the doctrine of the 
Jews and Christians, bat of heaUiens and Mahomet- 
ans, that the repentance which 4oes not produce 
ihu fruit, is fbigned, and will never avail with God 
for pardon and mercy. Thus much for conirma^ 
taoo of this doctrine. 

The third and last thing I proposed was, to per- 
MHule to the praptice of dus duty ; and this may 
serve by way of application of the doctrine of res- 
titution. The use we make of it is, 

First, To persuade men to the practice of this 
difficult duty. I doubt not but the arguments I have 
used are sufficient to convince us of the equity and 
necessity of restitution ; but what arguments shall I 
use to persuade to the practice and exercise of it ? 
When we press men to their duty, though we have 
some advantages on our side, yet we have also great 
disadvantages. We have this advantage, that we 
have the reason and consciences of men on our side; 
but then we have this disadvantage, that we have 
to contend either with the lusts or interests of men, 
or both: now that these are usually more powev- 
All, is evident in that the lusts and interests of men 
do so frequently bias and draw them to do thingfe( 
eontrary to reason and conscience. When we per* 
suade men to be just, and to make restitntion to 
tbqse whom they have injured, it is true we have 
not to contend with the lusts of men, with any cor-^ 
rupt and vicions inelinatioH of nature. There are 
some sins that have their rise from men's natural 

2 i2 



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476 

tempers, as passion and lust, and. those sensual 
5^ices that abound in the world: but there is nothing 
in any man's natural tempec and disposition that 
inclines him to be unjust, no man's complexion doth 
particularly dispose him to lie or steal, to defraud 
his neighbour, or detain his right from him; it is 
only the interests of men that prompt them to these 
things; and they are upon this account the more 
inexcusable, because-^no man is inclined to these 
sins from particular temper and constitution : so 
that an unjust man is in ordinary cases and circum- 
stances a greater sinner, than a drunkard or a lust- 
ful man, because no man can pretend to behcur- 
ried away by the strong propensipn and inclina- 
tion of his nature to cheat his brother; but al- 
though, when we persuade men to be just, we have 
not the lusts of men to contend withal, yet we 
have another powerful adversary, and that is the 
interests of men, which is one of the chief " rulers 
and governors of this world ;" so that when we press 
men to restitution, we touch them in their interest, 
which is a very touchy and tender thing ; when we 
tell them that without restitution no man can repent 
^and be saved, they think this to be a very hard say- 
ing, and they know not how to bear it. 

But certainly it hath all the reason and equity in 
^the world on its side. If it be so hard for them to 
restore that which is another man's^. is it not much 
harder for him whom thou bast injured, to lose. that 
which is his own? make it thine own. case; wouldest 
(thou not think it much harder to have thy right de- 
taiqed from thee by another, than for another to part 
with that which is not his own ? 
. >But I am sensible how little it is that. reason will 
sway with men against their interest; therefore the 



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477 

best argament that I can use, will be to satisfy men 
that, upon a true and just account, it is not so much, 
their interest to retain what they have unjustly got, 
as to make restitution. And this I shall do, by 
shewing men that to make restitution is their true 
interedt, both in respect of themselves and of their 
posterity. 

I. In respect to themselves. It is better both in 
respect of our present condition in this world, and 
of our future state. 

1. In respect of our present condition in this 
world, and that both in respect of our outward es- 
tate, and our inward peace and tranquillity. 

(1.) In respect of our outward estate. If we have 
any belief of the providence of God, that his bless- 
ing can prosper an estate, and his curse consume it 
and make it moulder away, we cannot but judge 
it highly our interest to clear our estates of injustice 
by restitution ; and by this means to free them from 
GU>d's curse. For if any of our estate be unjustly 
gotten, it is enough to draw down God's curse upon 
all that we have; it is like a moth in our estate, 
which will insensibly consume it; it is like a secret 
poison, which will diffuse itself through the whole ; 
like a little land in capite, which brings the wh^le 
estate into wardship. 

> H^ar how God threatens to blast estates unjustly 
gotten, (Job xx. 12, &c.) concluding with these 
words, ^^ This is the portion of a wicked man ;" that 
is, of an unjust man. (Jer. xvii. 1 1 .) *' As a partridge 
fiitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not, so he that 
getteth riches and not by right, shall leave them in 
the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.'* 
Men many times live to seethe folly of their injustice 
and opjpression, and their estates wither away be* 



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478 

fore Aeit eyes : and by tlie just t^vmgt <d <3od, 
they are deprived of tbem in tte midst of their d^ya. 
So that the best Way to fix an estate^ am) to (secniie 
it to ourselves, is by restH^tion to free it from Ciod^ 
ewse ; and when we have done that, how wacb 
M^ever we may diminish our estate by it, we jmay 
look upon ourselves as having a better estate tbftii 
we had; better, became we have Ckid's blessmg 
with that which remains. If we believe the Bible, 
we cannot doubt of this. The Spirit of -God tells us 
this from the observation of the wisest men. (Psal. 
XXX vii. 16.) '' A little that a righteous tnan hath, is 
better than the riches of many wicked." (Prov. xvi. 
8.) '' Better is a little with righteousness, than great 
revenues without right.** 

(2.) In respedt of inward peace and tran^faiHity, 
It is highly oar interest to make restitution. ISo man 
6an enjoy an estate, that does not enjoy himself; and 
nothing puts a man more out of the possession of 
himself, than an unquiet conscience ; and there are 
tio kind of sins lie heavier upon a man's conscienoet 
than those of injustice; because they are committed 
against the clearest natural light, and there (is the 
least natural temptation to them. They have these 
two great aggravations, that they are sins most 
against knowledge, and have most of will in them, 
There needs no revelation to convince men 4>f sins 
of injustice and oppression; every man hath (3)0S9 
principles born with him, which will sufficiently. ac^ 
quaint him that he ought not to be injurious to ano- 
ther. There is nothing that relates to our duty, that 
a man can know with greater certainty than this, 
that injustice is a sin. And as it is a tain most 
against knowledge, so it hath most of wiU in it. 
"^en are hurried away tO Qt^er sins by the strong 



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479 

lipd violent prop^imioiif pf t|ieir n^tur^ : ^utno Q)aii 
19 i^clw^d, by his teo>per ^d coqstitution, to fr^ud 
a^d oppression : and the less there is of natur^ >fi 
any ^in, there is th/e Icqs of necessity^ aod conse^ 
qveotly it is the mor^ voluntary* Now the greater 
the a^ravatioos of ^oy sin are, the greater is th# 
gulk ; i^nd the grater the guilt is» the more unquiet 
4>ur consciences will be : .so that, if liiou have any 
Migard to the interest of thine own pe^ce^ if that b9 
<^Mi8iderable to thee, which to wise men is the most 
Tajiiable thi^g in the world, do uot for a little wealth 
conjtinue in those sins, which will create perpetual 
ilistprbanqe to thee, and embitter all the pleasure* 
of thy life. I|ear how Job describes the cooditioQ 
of the wicked oppressors in the place before cited x 
(Job x^. 12, &c.) ** He shall not rejoice io thenow 
because he hath oppressed ; because he hath vio- 
lently taken away a house which be builded not» 
surely he shall not feel, quietness in his belly:'' that 
is« he shall have pp inward peace and contentment 
in the midst of all his outward enjoy noents: but his 
ill-gotten estate will work in his conscieoce, and 
gripe him, as if a man had taken down poison into 
J)is belly. . 

2. But chiefly, in respect of our future estate in 
Another world, it is every man's interest to make 
restitution. Without repentance we are ruined for 
ever, and without restitution no repentance. ** Hi 9 
unrighteous man hath any inheritauce in the kingf- 
dom of Christ." If thou continue in thy fraud and 
oppression, and carry these sins with thee into auo^- 
|ber world, they will hang as a millstone about thy 
neck, and sink thee into eternal ruin* He that 
wrongeth his brother bateth him, and '^ be that 
^teth his brother is a mnrd^^rer, and ye know tfaA$ 



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480 

no roarderer hath eternal life abiding in him.^ (1 Joho 
ill. 15; Rom. i. 18.) "The wrath ofGod is revealed 
from heaven, against all ungodliness and aorighte- 
ousness of men." So that if it be men's interest 
to escape the wratli of God, it concerns us to make 
reparation for those injuries which will expose us to 
it. That is a dreadful text, (James v. 1 — 4.) ** Go 
to novrye rich men, weep and howl fcr your mise* 
ries that shall come upon you. Your riches are 
corrupted, and your garments moth-eaten: your 
gold and silver is cankered, and the rust of them 
shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your 
flesh as it were fire: ye have heaped treasure toge- 
ther for the last days. Behold ! the hire of the la- 
bourers which have reaped down your fields; 
which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth ; and the 
cries of them which have reaped are entered into the 
ears of the Lord of sabaoth." Do not by ** detain- 
ing the treasures of wickedness, treasure up to your^ 
selves wratli against the day of wrath :'' do not 
make yourselves miserable for ever, that you may 
be rich for a little while : do not for a little silver and 
gold forfeit the eternal inheritance, which was ^'not 
purchased with corruptible things, but with the pre- 
cious blood of the Son of God :" and if this consi- 
deration, which is the weightiest in the world, will 
not prevail with men, I can only say with the angel, 
(Rev. xxii. 11.) ** He that is unjust, let him be un- 
just still f let him continue in his injustice at his 
peril, and remember what is added at the 12th 
Terse, " Behold I I come quickly; and my rewardjs 
with me, to give to every man according as his work 
shall be." 

II. In respect of our children and posterity, it is 
greatly our interest to make restitution. God many 



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481 

th]!ies sufiers an es^te got by oppression to pros- 
per for a little while : but there is a curse attends 
it, ^hich descends upon the estate like an incum- 
brance ; and parents many times, when they thiuk 
they entail an estate, entail poverty upon their 
children. Job (xx. 10.) speaking of the children of 
the oppressor, he saith, *' His children shall seek 
to please the poor, and his hands shall restore their 
goods." And, (Job xxi. 19.) " God layeth up his 
iniquity for his children." Thou layest up riches 
for thy children ; and God lays up thine iniqui- 
ty and injustice for them, the curse that belongs 
to them. (Hab. ii. 9 — 11-) " Woe to him that co- 
vereth an eyil covetousness, or gaineth an evil gain 
to his house," &c. Thou thoughtest to raise thy 
family by those ways, but 'Uhou hast consulted 
shame to thy house.** No such effectual way to ruin 
thy family, as injustice and oppression. As then 
you would not transmit a curse to your children, and 
devolve misery upon your family, free your estates 
from the burden and weight of what is other men's, 
lest, by God's just judgment and secret providence, 
that little which you injuriously detain from others, 
'Cnrry away your whole estate to them and their 
family. God's providence many times makes abun- 
dant restitution, when we will not. 

Having now endeavoured to satisfy men, that it 

is their truest interest to make restitution for the 

injuries they have done to others, it remains only 

-that I should answer an objection or two, which men 

are apt to make against this duty. 

First, Men say they are ashamed to do it. An- 
swer — It is not matter of shame, but of praise and 
commendation. But it may be thou will.say. It is 
matter of shame to have injured another; and thif 



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46$ 

m the way to hj open thy ihaioe* ladred, if ikm 
jnjury were public* the rratitutio0 ought to he 00 
too* as the only way to take off the abtme of ttM 
iDJui^. For thy Festkution doth not id this case 
publish thy sbame, but thy honesty : bat if the in* 
jury was private, thou H»ayest preserve thy owq cre- 
dit, by coac^aliug thyself; aod provided thou do 
the tbiDg effectually, thou mayest be as prudent, aa 
to the manaer of doing tt, as thou pleaaest. 

Secondly, Another objection is, the prejudice it 
will be to men's estates. BuA this I have answened 
idready, by shewiag that it is more their intereat to 
jBiake restitutioQ, than to continue in the sin. I shali 
only add, that, as our Saviour reasons iu another 
case, *' It is proBtable for thee, that one of thy 
members should perish, rather than that thy whole 
body should be cast into helK'' It is true Ukewiae 
here, it is profitable for thee, that thou shouldest go 
a beggar to heaven, rather than that thou shouldest 
go to hell, Jadeu with the spoils and gjuili of rapine 
and injustice* 

Thirdly, The last objection (hat I shall mention 
is, disability to make restitution. This, indeed, is 
aomething ; where nothing is to be had, every maa 
must lose his right : but then remember, that there 
must be a hearty repentance for the sin ; and thy 
aorrow must be so much greater, by how much thy 
ability to make i?estitution is less ; and Xhexe must 
be a willing mind, a firm purpose and resolution of 
doing it, when God shall enable thee, and diligent 
endeavours to that purpose. Under the Jaw thoae 
who were not able to make restitution, were sold for 
six years, if their service did not make reparation in 
less time. It is .true, indeed, the moderation of the 
gospel doth not sufier Christians to deal so hardly 



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483 

HfiA one ano&er: bat if the gospel remit oif tbki 
rigour, and do not allow Christians to challenge kf 
we sbodld voloiitetrily do in effect tliat which they 
were forced to ; that is, weahocrld nse our best en- 
iieaironrs^md diligence to pot onrseli^ies into a oon« 
dition of making satisfactkNi ; and we should not 
look npott any thing beycmd the neoessary conve* 
niences of life as our own, till we have done it ; nx^ 
less the party injured will recede from his right, in 
whole or in part. For though the impossibility of 
the thing do discharge ue fm the present, yet the 
obligation still lies upon us to do it, so soon as we 
are able. 

And here it will be propw to coneider the case of 
those who have cocnponnded with their creditors for 
a small part, whether they be in conscience and 
equity released from the whole debt. I am loath 
to lay unnecessary burdens upcm men's consciencee^ 
therefore I am very tender in resolving such cases : 
but I ougM to have a more tender care of thesools 
of men, than of their estates: therefore to deal 
plainly, and to discharge my conscience in this. mat- 
ter, I think BQch persons do, notwithstanding t2ie 
composition, stand obliged in equity and conscience 
for the whole debl, and are bound to discharge it so 
soon as they can with tolerable convenience. My 
yeason is, because, though they be discharged in 
law, yet the law does not intend to take off the obli- 
gation of conscience or equity, which they are un- 
der, but leaves that as it found it. Thus the case 
iBtoods ; men who are in a way of trade, are engaged, 
by the necessities of their calling, to venture a great 
part of their estate in other men's hands, and by this 
iDeans become liable many times to be undone with- 
out iheir own fauh^ therefore itis usual, when any 



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484 

aiBD in a way of trade becomes disabled, for the 
creditors to make such a coiriposition with him as 
his estate will bear ; and upon this cdrnposition to 
give him a full dischai^e, so as that they cannot af- 
terwards, by law, require of him the remainder of 
their debt. Now, though this be a favour to the 
debtor, yet it is principally intended for the benefit 
of the creditor; because it being his act, it is to 
be presumed, that he intended it, as much as may 
be, for his own advantage; and so'' it is, for the 
creditor has as much satisfaction at present as can 
be had, and the debtor is hereby left in a capacity 
of recovering himself again by his industry and diUr 
gence, which could not be, if he were not folly 
discharged ; for if he were still liable for the rest 
he would continually be obnoxious . to imprison- 
ment, which would render him incapable of fol- 
lowing his calling ; or if be were at liberty, he could 
have no credit to enable him to do any thing in his 
calling; for who would trust a man with any thing, 
who is liable every moment to have it taken from 
him ? so that the reason of this plenary discharge 
is this, that men, who. are otherwise hopeful, aod in 
a fair probability of recoverinjg themselves, may not 
be rendered incapable of getting an estate aAer- 
wards, whereby they may support themselves, and 
discharge their debts. Now this discharge being 
given in order to th^se ends, it cannot be imagined 
that it should be intended to defeat them; but it is 
in all reason to be supposed, that the creditors did 
not intend to take off the obligation of equity and 
conscience, only to put the man into a condition of 
doing something towards the enabling him to dis^ 
charge his debt. So that unless it were expressed 
at the composition, that the creditor would taever 



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485 

Expect more from him, upon account of equity and 
conscience, but did freely foi^ive him the rest, the 
contrary whereof is usually done ; I say, unless it 
were thus expressed, there is no reason why the cre- 
ditor's favour in making a composition should be 
abused to his prejudice; and why a legal discbarge 
given him on purpose for this reason among others, 
to put him into a capacity of recovering himself, and 
giving full satisfaction, should be so interpreted, as 
to extinguish the equitable right of the creditor to 
the remainder of his debt. 

The second use of this doctrine of restitution 
should be by. way of prevention, that men would 
take heed of being injurious, and so take away the 
occasion ofrestitution, and free themselves from the 
temptation of not performing so difficult and so un- 
welcome a duty. It is much easier of the two, not to 
cozen or oppi^ss thy neighbour, than, after thou hast 
done it, it will be to bring thyself to make restitu- 
tion ; therefore we should be very careful not to be 
injurious to any one in any kind ; neither imme- 
diately by ourselves, nor by aiding and assisting 
others, by our power and interest, or skill in the 
law, or by any other way, to do injustice. 



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SERMON CLXXI. 

THB VSEPIJLNESS OP CONSIDERATTOK, IN ORDEft 
TO RfiPENTANCE. 

Oh that th^ Wire wUe^ thmt they uMhntood this, thai 
they would consider their latter emdl — Dbuv. 
xxxii. 29. 

This chapter is called Motes'a Song, in which he 
briefly recounts the various providences of God to* 
wards the people of Israel, and the froward carriage 
of that people towards him. 

First, He puts them in mind how God had chosen 
them for his peculiar peopte, and had by a signal 
care and providence conducted them all that tedious 
journey, for the space of forty years in the wilder^ 
ness, until he had brought them to the promised 
land, which they had now begun to take posses- 
sion of. 

And then he foretels, how they would behave 
themselves after all this mercy and kindness Gpd 
had shewn to them : (ver. 15.) '^ Jeshurun waxed fat, 
and kicked, and forsook God which made him, and 
lightly esteemed the rock of his salvation." Upon 
this, he tells them, God would be extremely dis- 
pleased with them, and would multiply his judgments 
upon them : (ver. 19, 20.) *' When the Lord saw it, 
he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his 
sons and of his daughfers : and he said, I will hide 
my face from them, I will see what their end shall be ; 
for they are a very froward generation, children in 



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487 

wkom k no faith." And, (var. tS.) ^' 1 wHl bamp 
fioiMhief apon tbem, I will spend mine arrows open 
them.'' And tbeu he enumerates the particular 
judgments which he would send upon them : nay, 
he declares he would have utterly consumed them, 
but that he was loath to give occasion of so much 
triumph to his and their enemies : (ven 26, 27.) " I 
said, I would scatter them into comers, I would 
make the remembrance of them to cease from 
among men ; were it not, that I feared the wrath of 
the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave 
themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our 
hand is high, and the Lord hath not done all this."" 
And he adds the reason of all this severity ; because 
they were so very stupid and inconsiderate : (ver.28.) 
^ For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is 
there any understanding in them." 

And in the conclusion of all, he represents Grod, as 
it were, breaking out into this vehement and affec- 
tionate wish, " Oh that they were wise, that they 
understood this, that they would consider their lat- 
ter end !" 

" Oh that they were wise, that they understood 
thisr What is that? 2%i> may refer to all that went 
before. Oh that they were wise to consider what 
God had done for them, and what they had done 
against him, and what he will do against them, if 
they continue or renew their former provocations { 
Oh that they were but duly apprehensive of this, 
and would lay it seriously to heart! 

But from what follows, it seems more particularly 
to refer to those particular judgments which God 
had threatened them withal, and which would cer- 
tainly befal them, if they still continued in their dis- 
obedience. ** Oh that they were wise, that they un- 



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48S 

derstood this, that tbey would consider their latter 
end !'* That w, the sad consequences of thesie their 
provocations, that, by the consideration thereof, they 
might prevent all those evils and calamities, by tura- 
mg from those sins which would unavoidably bring 
them uponihem. 

' From the words thus explained, I shall observe 
these four things : 

I. That God doth really and heartily desire the 
happiness of men, and to prevent their misery and 
ruin. For the very design of these words is to ex- 
press this to us, and it is done in a very vehement, 
and, as I may say, passionate manner. 

II. That it is a great point of wisdom, to consider 
seriously the last issue and consequence of our ac- 
tions, whither they tend, and what will follow upon 
them. And therefore wisdom is here described by 
the consideration of our latter end. 

HI. That this is an excellent means to prevent 
that misery which will otherwise befkl us. And 
this is necessarily implied in this wish, that if they 
would but consider these things, they might be 
prevented. 

IV. That the want of this consideration is the 
great cause of men*s ruin. And this is likewise im- 
plied in the words, that one great reason of men's 
ruin is because they are not so wise, as to consider 
the fatal issue and consequence of a sinful course. 
I shall speak briefly to each of these. 

I. That God doth really and heartily desire the 
happiness of men, and to prevent their misery and 
ruin. To express this to us, God doth put on the 
yehemency of a human passion : ** Oh that they were 
wise !" &c. The laws of God are a clear evidence 
of this ; because, the observance of them tends to 



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489 

our bappfnesB. There is no good prince makes 
laws with any^ other design, than to promote the 
public welfare and happiness of his people : and 
with much more reason may we imagine, that the 
infinite good Grod does by all his laws design the 
happiness of his creatures. And the exhortations of 
Scripture, by which he enforceth his laws, are yet a 
greater evidence how earnestly he desires the happi- 
ness of bis creatures. For it shews that he is con- 
cerned for us, when he useth so many arguments to 
persuade us to our duty, and when he expostulates 
so vehemently with us for our neglect of it, saying 
to sinners, "Turn ye, turn ye, why will you die, O 
house of Israel ?*' " Ye will not come unto me, that 
ye might have life,'' says our blessed Saviour, with 
great trouble to see men so obstinately set against 
their own happiness ; and again, " How often would 
I have gathered you, as a hen gathereth her chickens 
under her wings, and ye would not !" and to satisfy 
us yet further, that it is his real desire, by our obe- 
dience to his laws, to prevent our ruin, God doth 
frequently in Scripture put on the passions of men. 
and use all sorts of vehement expressions to this 
purpose: (Deut. v. 29.) " Oh that there were such 
a heart in them^ that they would fear me, and keep 
all my commandments always, that it might be well 
with them, and with their children for ever T And^ 
(Psal. Ixxxi. 13.) " Oh that my people had hearken- 
ed unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways I I 
should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned 
my hand against their adversaries/' (Jer. xiii. 27.) 
<* O Israel! wilt thou not be made clean? when 
shall it once be?" And, to name but one text more, 
when our blessed Saviour wept over Jerusalem, 
how passionately does he wish that *' she had 

VOL. VII. 2 K 



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490 

known in that her day the things that belonged to 
her peace !** 

And if, after all this, we can doubt whether tb^ 
feithful God means as be says, he hath for oar farther 
assurance, and to put the matter, ont of all doubt, 
confirmed his word by an oath : (Ezek. xxxiii. 11.) 
'' As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the 
death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from 
his ways and live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil 
ways ; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?* So 
that if words can be any declaration of a hearty and 
sincere desire, we have no reason to doubt, but that 
God does really desire the happiness of men, and 
would gladly prevent their ruin and destruction. 

If any now ask, Why then are not all men happy? 
Why do they not escape ruin and destruction ? And 
particularly, why the people of Israel, for whom God 
here makes this wish, did not escape those judg- 
ments which were threatened? the prophet shall 
answer for me, (Hos. xiii. 9.) ** O Israel ! thon hast 
destroyed thyself.* And David, (Psal. Ixxxi. 11.) 
" My people would not hearken to my voice, Israel 
would none of me." And our blessed Saviour, 
(Matt, xxiii* 37.) " How often would I have gathered 
thee, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her 
wings, and ye would not !" and, (John v. 40.) " Ye 
will not come unto me, that ye might have.life.^ 
You see what account the Scripture plainly gives of 
this matter ; it rests upon the wills of men, and God 
hath not thought fit to force happiness upon men, 
and to make them wise and good whether they will 
or no. He presents men with such motives, and 
offers such arguments to their consideration, as are 
^t to prevail with reasonable men, and is ready, to 
afford them all necessary assistance, if they be not 



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491 

wabtidg to theindelves; but if tbey i^ill not be wide 
and consider, if tbey will stafid out against all the 
argdments that Giod can offer, if they will ** receive 
the grace of God in vain, and resist his blessed 
Spirit, and reject the counsel of God against them- 
selves," God hath not, in this case, engaged himself 
to' provide any remedy against the obstinacy and 
perverseness of men, but '^ their destruction is of 
themselves," and ** their blood shall b^ upon their 
own heads." And there is no nicety and intricacy 
in this matter ; but if men will consider Scripture 
and reason impartially, they will find this to be the 
plain resolution of the case. 

So that no man hath reason either to charge his 
fault or his punishment upop God ; he is ^^ free from 
the blood of all men," he sincerely desires our hap- 
piness ; but we wilfully ruin ourselves : and when 
be tells us that he ** desires not the death of a sin- 
ner, but ratber that he should turn from his wicked- 
ness and live ;" that be ** would have all men to be 
saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth ;" 
that be is ^'not willing that any should perish, but 
that all should come to repentance;" he plainly 
means as he says, and doth not speak to us with 
any reserve, or dftrk distinction bd;ween his secret 
and revealed will ; be does not decree one thing and 
declare another. 

And if this be so, no man bath reason to be dis- 
couraged from attempting and endeavouring his 
own happiness, upon a jealousy and surmise that 
God bath, by any fetal decree, put a bar to it from 
all eternity ; for if he had so absolutely resolved to 
make the greatest part of mankind miserable, with- 
out any respect to their actions in this world, be 
would never have said, that be desires 'Uhat all 

2 K 2 



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492 

•hould be saved ;"" he would not have exhorted M 
men ** to work out their own salvation :*' had he 
taken up any such resolution, he would have de- 
ekired it to all the world ; for he hath power enough 
in his hands *f to do what he pleaseth, and none 
can resist his will ;" so that he did not need to have 
dissembled the matter, and to have pretended a de- 
sire to save men, when he was resolved to ruin them. 

This is the first, that God doth really and heartily 
desire the happiness of men, and to prevent their 
misery and ruin. I proceed to the 

II. Second, That it is a great part of wisdom, to 
consider seriously the last issue and consequence of 
our actions, and whithef* the course of life which 
we lead does tend, and what will follow upon it. 
And therefore wisdom is here explained by consi- 
deration ; " Oh that they were wise, that they would 
consider their latter end !'' that is, what will be&l 
them hereafter, what will be the issue and conse- 
quence of aU the sins and provocations which they 
are guilty of. 

And this is a principal point and property of 
wisdom, to^ look forward, and not only to consider 
the present pleasure and advantage of any action, 
but the future consequence of it : and there is no 
greater argument of an imprudent man, than to gra- 
tify himself for the present in the doing of a thing 
which will turn to bis greater prejudice afterwards ; 
especially if the future inconvenience be great and 
intolerable, as it is in the case we are speaking of. 
For eternal happiness or misery depends upon the 
actions of this present life ; and according as we 
behave ourselves in this world, Jt will go well or ill 
with us for ever : so that this is a matter of vast im- 
portance, and deserves onr most serious thoughts; 



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land, ID matters of mighty coDsequence, a yf\^ man 
will take all things into consideration, and look be- 
fore him as far as he can. And indeed this is the 
reason why things of great moment are said to be 
.things of consequence, because great things depend 
and are likely to follow upon them : and then surely 
that is the greatest concernment, upon which, not 
only the happiness of this present life, but our hap- 
piness to all eternity, does depend ; and if the good 
and bad actions of this life be of that consequence 
to us, it is fit every man should consider what he 
does, and whither the conrse of life he is engaged, 
or about to engage in, will lead him at last. Fx>r 
this is true wisdom, to look to the end of things, 
and to think seriously bieforehand whiat is likely to 
be the event of such ao action, of such a course of 
life. If we serve God faithfully, and do his will, 
what will be the consequence of that to us in this 
world and the other ; and, on tha other hand, if we 
live wickedly, and allow ourselves in any unlawful 
and vicious practice, what will be the end of that 
i:ourse^ 

And to any man that consults the law of his own 
nature, or the will of God revealed in Scripture, 
nothing can be plainer than what will be the end 
pf these several ways^ God hath plainly told us, 
and our own consciences will tell us the same, that if 
we do well we shall be accepted of God, and re- 
warded by him ; but if we do ill, ** the end of these 
things is death, that indignation and .wrath, tribu- 
lation and anguish, will be upon every soul of man 
that doeth evil; but honour, and glory, and peace 
to every man that doeth good, in the day when God 
/iliall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, ac» 
ipording to the gospel." 



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494 

So that God hath given us a plaki prospect of 
the different issues of a virtuous and wicked life, 
and there wants nothing but consideration to make 
us to attend to these things, and to lay them seri- 
ously to heart* For while men are inconsiderate, 
they go on stupidly in an evil way, and are not sen- 
sible of the danger of their present course, because 
they do not attend to the consequence of it : but 
when their eyes are once opened by consideration, 
they cannot but be sadly apprehensive of the mis- 
chief they are running themselves upon. If men 
would take but a serious and impartial view of 
their lives and actions ; if they would consider the 
tendency of a sinful course, and whither it will 
bring them at last; if the vicious and dissolute nran 
would but look about him and consider how many 
have been ruined in that very way that he is in, 
how many lie slain and wounded in it; that **itis 
the way to hell, and leads down to the chambers 
of death ;" the serious thought of this could not but 
check him in his course, and make him resolve upon 
a better life. If men were wise, they would con- 
sider the consequence of their actions, and upon 
consideration would resolve upon that which they 
are convinced is best, I proceed to the 

III. Third thing I propounded, which was, that 
consideration of the consequence of our actions, 
is an excellent means to prevent the mischiefs which 
otherwise we should run into. And this is neces- 
sarily implied in the wish here in the text, that if we 
would but consider these things, they might be 
prevented. For how can any man, who hath any 
love or regard for himself, any tenderness for his 
own interest and happiness, see hell and destruction 
before him, which, if be hold on his evil course, will 



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49& 

certainly swallow him up, and yet Tenture to go on 
in his sins? Can any man that plainly beholds 
misery hastening towurls him like an armed man, 
and ** destruction coming upon him as a whirlwind,'* 
think himself unconcerned to prevent it and fly 
from it ? The most dull and stupid creatures will 
start back upon the sight of present danger. Ba- 
laam's ass, when she saw the angel of the Lord 
standing in the way, with his sword drawn ready 
to smite her, starts aside, and could not be urged 
en. Now God hath given us, not only sense to ap- 
prehend a present evil, but reason and consideration 
to look before us» and to discover dangers at a di^ 
tance, to apprehend them as certainly and with as 
clear a conviction of the reality of them, as if they 
threatened us the next moment: and will any con- 
siderate man, who hath calculated the dangerous 
events of sin, and the dreadful effects of God's wrath 
upon sinners, go on to *^ provoke the I^ord to jea- 
lousy, as if he were stronger than he?" It ts not to 
be imagined, but that, if men would seriously con- 
sider what sin is, and what shall be the sad portion 
of sinners hereafter, they would resolve upon a bet- 
ter course. Would any man live in the lusts of the 
flesh, and of intemperance, or out of coyetouaness 
defraud or oppress his neighbour, did he seriously 
consider that God is the avenger of such, and that, 
^^ because of these things, the wrath of God comes 
upon the children of disobedience ?" 

I should have great hopes of men's repentance 
and reformation, if they could but once be brought 
to consideration ; for in most men it is not so ranch 
a positive disbelief of the truth, as inadvertency and 
want of consideration, that makes them to go on so 
securely in a sinful course. Would but men con- 



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496 

aider what mn is, and what will be the fearful con* 
sequence of it, probably in this world, but most cer« 
tainly in the other, they could not choose but fly 
from it as the greatest evil in the world. 

And to shew what power and influence con* 
sideration will probably have to bring men to re** 
pentance, and a change of their lives, I remember 
to have somewhere met with a very remarkable 
story, of one that had a son that took bad courses, 
and would not be reclaimed by all the good coun- 
sel his father could give him ; at last, coming to bis 
father, who lay upon his death-bed, to beg his 
blessing, his father, instead of upbraiding him with 
bis bad life, and undutiful carriage toward him, 
spake kindly to him, and told him, he had but one 
thing to desire of him, that every day he would retire 
and spend one quarter of an hour alone by himself ; 
which he promised his father faithfully to do, and 
make it good. After a while it grew tedious to him, 
to spend even so little time in such bad and uneasy 
company, and he began to bethink himself, for 
what reason his fhther should so earnestly desire of 
him to do so odd a thing for his sake, and his mind 
presently suggested to him, that it was to enforce 
htm to consideration ; wisely judging, that if by any 
means he could but bring him to that, he would 
soon r^orm his life, and become a new man. And 
the thing had its desired efiect ; for after a little con- 
sideration, he took up a firm resolution to change 
the course of his life, and was true to it all his days. 
I cannot answer for the truth of the story, bi^t for. 
the moral of it I will ; namely, that consideration isi 
one of the best and most likely things in the world, 
to bring a bad man to a better mind. I now cofne 
to the : 



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497 

IV. Fourth, and last particular, namely, that the 
urant of this consideration is one of the greatest 
causes of men's ruin. And this likewise is implied 
in the text ; and the reason why God does so vehe- 
mently desire that men would be wise and con- 
sider, is, because so many are ruined and undone 
for want of it« This is. the desperate folly of man- 
kind, that they seldom think seriously of the conse- 
quence of their actions, and least of all such as are 
of greatest concernment to them, and have the chief 
influeivce upon their eternal condition. They do 
not consider what mischief and inconveniency a 
wicked life may plunge them into in this world, 
what trouble and disturbance it may give them 
when they come to die ; what horror and confusion 
it may fill them withal, when they are leaving this 
world, and passing into eternity ; and what intoler- 
able misery and torment it may bring upon them to 
all eternity* Did men ponder and lay to heart 
death and judgment, heaven and hell; and would 
they but let their thoughts dwell upon these things, 
it is not credible that the generality of men could 
lead such profane and impious, such lewd and dis- 
solute, such secure and careless, lives as they do. 

Would but a man frequently entertain his mind 
with such thoughts as these— ^1 must shortly die, and 
leave this world, and then all the pleasures and en- 
joyments of it will be to me as if they had never been, 
>only that the remembrance of them, and the ill use 
I have made of them, will be very bitter and griev- 
ous to me ; after all, death will transmit me out of 
this world, into a quite different state and scene of 
things, into the presence of that great und terrible, 
that inflexible and impartial Judge, who will ** ren- 
der to every man according to his works ;'' and then 



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all the evils which I have done in thk life will rise 
up in judgment against me, and fill me with ererr 
lasting confusion, in that great assembly of men 
and angels ; will banish me from the presence of 
God, and all the bappinais which flows from it, 
and procure a dreadfal sentence of unspeakable 
misery and torment to be passed upon me, which 
I can never get reversed, nor yet never be able to 
stand under the weight of it. If men would bot 
enter into the serious consideration of these things, 
and pursue these thoughts to some issue and con- 
clusion, they would take up other resolutions ; and 
I verily believe, that the want of this hath ruined 
more than even infidelity itself. And this I take to 
be the meaning of that question in the Psalmist, 
•* Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge?** 
that is, no consideration ? intimating, that if they 
had, they would do better. 

All that now remains is, to persuade men to ap- 
ply their hearts to this piece of wisdom, to look be- 
fore them, and to think seriously of the consequence 
of their actions, what will be the final issue of that 
course of life they are engaged in ; and if they con- 
tinue in it, what will become of them hereafter, what 
will become of them for ever. 

And herel might apply this text, as God here 
does to the people of Israel, to the public condition 
of the nation, which is not so very unlike to that 
of the people of Israel ; for God seems to have 
chosen this nation for his more peculiar people, and 
hath exercised a very particular providence towards 
us, in conducting us through that wilderness of 
confusion, in which we have been wandering for the 
space of above forty years ; and when things were 
come unto the last extremity, and we seemed tostand 



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Bpon the very brink of ruin, then (as it \» said of the 
people of Israel, ver. 36, of this chapter), •• Grod re* 
panted himself for his seryants, when he saw their 
power was gone i"" that is, that they were utteriy' 
unable to help themselves, and to work their own 
deliverance. And it may be said of us, as Moses 
does of that people, (chap, xxxiii. 29.) ** Happy art 
thou, O Israel, O people saved by the Lord, the 
shield of thy help, tmd who is the sword of thy ex- 
cellency !" Never did any nation stro^le with, 
and get through, so many, and so great difficulties, 
as we have several times done. 

And I fear we have behaved ourselves towards 
God not much better than the people of Israel did ; 
but, like Jeshurun, after many deliverances and great 
mercies, *' have waxed fat and kicked, have for* 
saken the God that made us, and little esteemed the 
Rock of our salvation ;'' by which we have ^* pro^ 
voked the Lord to jealousy,** and have, as it were, 
forced him to multiply his judgments, and to spend 
his arrows upon us, ** and to hide his face from us, 
to see what our end will be :" so that we have rea- 
son to fear, that Grod would have brought utter 
ruin and destruction upon us, and '* scattered xf^ 
into corners, and made the remembrance of us to 
have ceased from among men, had he not feared 
the wrath of the enemy, and lest the adversaries 
should have behaved themselves strangely, and lest 
they should say. Our hand is high, and the Lord 
hath not done all this ,'' that is, lest they should as^ 
cribe this just vengeance of God upon a sinful aud 
unthankful nation, to the goodness and righteous- 
ness of their own cause, and to the favour and as« 
sistance of the idols and false gods whom they 
worsliipped, to the patronage and aid of the Virgin 



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Mary, and the saints ; to whom, contrary to the will 
and command of the true God, they had offered up 
to many prayers and vows, and paid the greatest 
part of their religious worship. But ** the Lord hath 
shewn himself greater than all gods, and in the 
things wherein they dealt proudly, that he is above 
them : for our Rock is not as their rock, even our 
enemies themselves being judges.** 

And we have been too like the people of Israel in 
other respects also ; so fickle and inconstant, that 
after great deliverances we are presently apt to 
murmur and be discontented, to grow sick of our 
own happiness, and ^^ to turn back in our hearts 
into Egypt ;" so that God may complain of us, as 
be does of his people Israel, that nothing that he 
could do, would bring them to consideration, and 
make them better, neither his mercies nor his judg^ 
ro^nts : (Isa. i. 2, 3.) '* Hear, O heaven! and give ear, 
O earth I for the Lord hath spoken : I have nou- 
rished and brought up children, but they have re- 
belled against me. The ox knoweth bis owner, and 
the ass his master's crib : but Israel doth not know; 
my people doth not consider/* And so likewise 
ine complains that his judgments had no effect 
upon them ; (yer. 5.) •* Why should ye be smitten 
any more ? Ye will revolt more and more." Well, 
therefore, may it be said of us, as it was of them iu 
the verse before the text, ** They are a nation void 
p( knowledge, neither is there any understanding in 
them." And the wish that follows in the text, is as 
seasonable for us as it was for them, ^' Oh that they 
were wise, that they understood this^ that they would 
consider their latter end !" . 

And by parity of reason, this may likewise be ap- 
plied to particular persons, and to persuade every 



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one of us to a serious consideration of the final issue 
and consequence of our actions, I will only offer 
these two arguments : 

1. That consideration is the proper act of rea- 
sonable creatures, and that whereby we shew our- 
selves men* So the prophet intimates, (Jsa. xlvi. 8.) 
/' Remember this, and shew yourselves men ; bring 
it again to mind, O ye transgressors !"* That js, con- 
sider it well, think of it again and again, ye that run 
on so furiously in a sinful course, what the end 
and issue of these things wilt be. If ye do not do 
this, you do not shew yourselves men, you do not 
act like reasonable creatures, to whom it is pecu- 
liar to propose to themselves some end and design 
of their actions ; but rather like brute creatures, 
which have no understanding, and act only by a 
natural instinct, without any consideration of the 
end of their actions, or of the means conducing 
to it. 

2. Whether we consider it or not, our latter end 
will come; and all those dismal consequences of a 
sinful course, which God hath so plainly threatened, 
and our own consciences do so much dread, will 
certainly overtake us at last ; and we cannot, by 
not thinking of these things, ever prevent or avoid 
them. Death will come, and after that the judg- 
ment, and an irreversible doom will pas^ upon us 
according to all the evil that we have done, and all 
the good that we have neglected to do in this life, 
under the heavy weight and pressure whereof we 
must lie groaning, and bewailing ourselves to ever- 
lasting ages. 

God now exerciseth his mercy, and patience, and 
loug-sufiering towards us, in expectation of our 
amendment; he reprieves us on purpose that we 



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50!2 

may repent^ and in hopes that we will at last cod- 
sider and grow wiser ; for '^ he is not willing that 
any should perish, but that all should come to re- 
pentance:" but if we will trifle away this day of 
God's grace and patience, if we will not consider 
and bethink ourselves, there is another day that will 
certainly corae, " That great and terrible day of the 
Lord, in which the heavens shall pass away with a 
great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent 
beat; the earth also, and the works that are there- 
in, shall be burnt np." 

" Seeing then all these things shall be," let us con- 
sider seriously ** what manner of persons we t)ught 
to be, in all holy conversation and godliness, wait- 
ing for» and hastening unto, the coming of the day 
of God ;' to whom be glory now and for ever. 



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SERMON CLXXIL 

THE DANGER OP IMPENITENCE WHERE THE GOS- 
PEL IS PREACHED. 

Woe unto thee^ Chorazinf woe unto thee^ Bethscddal 
for if the mighty works which were done in you^ 
had been done in Tyre and Sidon^ they would have 
repented long ago in sackcloth and as/ies. 3ut I 
say unto you. It shall be more tolerable for Tyre 
and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you.^^ 
Matt. xi. 21, 22. . 

After our blessed Saviour had instructed, and 
sent forth his disciples, he himself went abroad to 
preach unto the cities of Israel; particularly he 
spent much time in the cities of Galilee, Chorazin, 
and Bethsaida, and Capernaum, preaching the gos- 
pel to them, and working many and great miracles 
among them ; but with little or no success : which 
was the cause of his denouncing this terrible woe 
against them ; (ver. 20.) " Then began he to upbraid 
the cities wherein most of his mighty works were 
done, because they repented not. Woe unto thee, 
Chorazin!" &c. 

In which words our Saviour declares the sad and 
miserable condition of those two cities, Chorazin, 
and Bethsaida, which had neglected such an oppor- 
tunity, and resisted and withstood such means of 
repentance, as would have effectually reclaimed the 
most wicked cities and people that can be instanced 
in any age. Tyre, and Sidon, and Sodom; and there- 
fore he tells them, that their condition was much 



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worse, and that tbey should fall under a heayier 
sentence at the day of judgment, than the people of 
those cities whom tbey had always looked upon as 
the greatest sinners that ever were in the world. 
This is the plain meaning of the words in general ; 
but yet there are «ome difficulties in them, which I 
shall endeavour to clear, and then proceed to raise 
such observations from them, as may be instructive 
and useful to us. 
The difficulties are these : 

I. What repentance is here spoken of; whether 
an external repentance, in show and appearance 
only, or an inward, and real, and sincere repentance* 

II. In what sense it is said, that '' Tyre and Sidon 
would have repented." 

III. What is meant by their ''would have re- 
pented long ago.*' 

IV. How this assertion of our Saviour's, that mi- 
racles would have converted Tyre and Sidon, is 
reconcileable with that other saying of his, (Luke 
xvi. 31.) io the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, 
that '* those who believed nq|; Moses and the pro- 
phets, neither would they be persuaded though one 
rose fronv the dead.'' 

I. What repentance is here spoken of; whether 
a mere external and hypocritical repentance in show 
and appearance only, or an inward, and real, and 
sincere repentance. 

The reason of this doubt depends upon the dif- 
ferent theories of divines, about the sufficiency of 
grace accompanying the outward means of repent- 
ance, . and whether an irresistible degree of God s 
grace be necessary to repentance ; for they who 
deny sufficient grace to accompany the outward 
means of repentance, and assert an irresistible de- 



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505 

gree of God's grace necessary to repentance, are 
forced to say that onr Savionr here speaks of a 
mere external repentance ; because if he spake of 
an inward and sincere repentance, then it must be 
granted, that sufficient inward grace did accompany 
the miracles that were wrought in Chorazin and 
Bethsaida, to bring men to repentance; because 
what was afforded to them, would have brought 
Tyre and Sidon to repentance. And that which 
would have effected a thing, cannot be denied to be 
sufficient : so that unless our Saviour here speaks 
of a mere external repentance, either the outward 
means of repentance, as preaching and miracles, 
must be granted to be sufficient to bring men to re^ 
peutance, without the inward operation of God's- 
grace upon the minds of men ; or else a sufficient 
d^ree of God's grace must be acknowledged to ac- 
company the outward means of repentance. Again, 
if an irresistible degree of grace be necessary to true 
repentauce, it is plain, Chorazin and Bethsaida had 
it not, because they did not repent ; and yet, with- 
out this. Tyre and Sidon could not sincerely have 
repented: therefore our Saviour here must speak 
of a mere external repentance. Thus some argue, 
as they do likewise concerning the repentance of 
Nineveh, making that also to be merely external^ 
b^ause they are loath to allow true repentance to 
heathens. 

But it seems very plain, that our Saviour does 
speak of an inward, and true, and sincere repent- 
ance ; and therefore, the doctrines that will not ad- 
mit this, are not true. For our Saviour speaks of 
the same kind of repentance, that be upbraideth 
%hem with the want of, in the verse befoVe the tefxt 
'' Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most 

VOL. VII. 2 L 



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^ his mighty varies ^^e 4pnPi ^w^Qiiflw tl^ vf^ 
pei}M »atr that is, Ip^w^use ^y w^re not ))rp9gb^ 
|9 a «iiw:^rfi repent^w:/?, by tu^ pre^ctiii^^ ^hicjfk w%9 
GQDftrwed by fach grefit q^ifjacles. It (g tru^e, iD4ee^# 
b^ pp^nti4>att jth^ o^tw^rd m^9 W^ eicpriessioop ^f 
v^liueataaci^, whfrtu he 3^yf», ** tl^ey WP^H b^H^P ^P-' 
pe?^ in s^ck^lath s|n(} a^h^ ;" b^t opt ^h e^lu4^ 
ipgiaw^rcj jwjd r^al re^tfii^^e, l^^ RMPPP»ing ?^fc 
9j8 ifi iBvjdept frfiin wb^^ ii^ B^d in tf)^ pcti^f v^^ryq, 
" It ?b?4l be p^pf^ tolerable fcf Ty»VB wi4 8«dpn> ^t 
tb« 4*y of judgffveq4, 4b^n for yp^:" for thQtigb fto 
f^\f^^»\ ap^i bypocrit^?4 repent^Q? ipay pfwi^ii 
urith Go^ to put oflT, temporal fn^mf^^t y^t WP^Iy 
it will be biU ^ fv^fy wjw^H, if ^flyt upitig^tipn pf 9W 
pM^cJen^^ation at the^^y ^jj^iqeut: fso t|)^t ^ 
rfipen49ftc? berp ,^o||;en of i^tanpoj, wi^hp^t gfe^^ 
yiol^ce to ibfi H99^ f^*d d^s^^ of ow' jS^rvipur^ 
f^rgiilneDt, be ^cJersitpQ^pBly.pf ^ ^xl^rp^l cji^^v 
4fl4 9pp(e»rftnce pf rep^tai^ice. 

^. The n?pt difl^culty to be clo^r^ w, w fW4«4 
3fP8^ it i^ here aaid, <i^?J; " jf t|i^ IWffbty WQf fc* 
i^bieb w^re 4oi>e" by oqr SaVio^r wipflg th^ Jepvi^, 
*^|iatd beeft done ia Tyre ^nd S^dop, they^pj^W 
b^tverep^o^^/' 

Sofpp, tp f^void the ii^coov^ni^of^e |?hipb Ijbey ^ 
j^pbead tp be in the n^pr^ ^trkt a^d litej^tl si^ppp 
/of 4i/5 words, look upoQ ti^m «s byp^rbpUcal : m 
we say, such a thing would move a ston(», pr Ihe 
lii^i^f wheq ijpe would expre9(» ^ojeAiog to be «ery 
j|fi4 wd^rievoup.; so b^re, to 3ggr;gi|^tp (h^ iinp«i|ir 
t^^e of tli^ Jews, o^ir Saviour ^^,yt^, jthftl; ^h^y »^ 
\»is^e4 thpi«e iDiq?M?s of r^peut^i^cft pbicb ope i^ouM 
(t^pk ^boiuld alf9Pf t We pr^vc^il^cj ftppo jibe gre»»lr 
f9t ftud n^pflt ob4^r?ite ?ipBers $h?it eyp? j^i^ene r 4i«(t 
#pt jiit^i^pg tp a|arjp9 »ny w^b Jhiipg. 



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507 

^utitbere ts bo colour for this, if we copsider tKajt 
oi|r SftArioiir reasoos from tfa^ 6upposi|ioQ of saeh a 
thing, that therefore the case of Tyre and Sidoa 
would really be *^ more tolerable at the day of judg- 
ment*' thau theirs; because they would have re- 
peated, but the Jews did not. 

Others, perhaps, understjand the words too strict- 
ly, as if our Saviour had spoken according to what 
lie certainly foreknew would have happened to the 
people of Tyre and Sidon, if sudi miracles had been 
wrought among them. And no doijibt but, in that 
case, God did certainly know what they would 
have done; but yet I should rather choose to under- 
stand the words as spoken popularly, according tp 
what in all human appearance and probability would 
have happened, if such external means of repent- 
ance, accompanied with an ordinary grace of God, 
had been afford^ to tkem of Tyre and Sidon. And 
thus the cid Lfttin interpreter ^eems to have under- 
stood the next words: '^ If the mighty works which 
have been done in thee» had been dotne in Spdom, 
iniivav ivy forte mcamssenl, '^it would perhaps have 
remained to this day— in all likdihood it had con- 
tinued till now." Much the saipe with thet passage 
of the prophet: (Ezek. iii. A; 6.) "Thou art not sent 
to a people of a strange speech, and of a hard lan- 
guage, but to the house of Israel : surely had I sent 
tl^ee to thein, they would have hearkened unto thee ;" 
that is, in all probability they would; there is little 
. doul^t iq be made of the contrary. And this is suf- 
. fident foundation for our Saviour's reasoning after- 
wards, that ^'it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and 
Sidon in the day of judgment, than for them." And 
if we may judge what they would have done before, 
by what they did afterward, there is more tiiaii 

2 L 2 



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508 

probability for It : for we read in the Slat chapter 
of the Acts, (ver. 3. 7.) that the iahabitants of Tyre 
and SidoD received the gospel, and kindly enter- 
tained St. Paul, when the Jews rejected them 
both. The 

IIL Third thing to be cleared is, what is meant by 
long ago ; ** they would have repented long ago.*' 

Some understand this, as if our Saviour Had said, 
they would not have stood out so long against so 
mudh preaching, and so many miracles; but would 
at 6rst have repented, long before our Saviour gave 
over Chorazin and Bethsaida for obstinate and in- 
corrigible sinners ; they would not only have re- 
pented at last, but much sooner, and without so 
much ado. 

But this does not seem to be the meaning of the 
words ; but our Saviour seems to refer to those an- 
cietit times, long ago, when the prophets denounced 
judgments againi^t Tyre and Sidon, particularly the 
prophet Ezekiel ; and to say, that if in those days 
the preaching of that prophet had been accom- 
panied with such miracles as our Saviour wrought 
in the cities of Galilee, Tyre and Sidon would in 
those days have repented. 

The last and greatest difficulty of all is, how this 
assertion of our Saviour, that miracles would have 
converted Tyre and Sidon, is reconcileable with that 
discourse of our Saviour's (Luke xvi.) in the pa- 
rable of the rich man and Lazarus, that those 
who Mrould not believe Moses and the prophets, 
would dot have been persuaded, though one had 
rose from the dead. 

The true answer tg which difficulty, in ^hort, is 
this : that when our Saviour says,^' if they believe 
not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be 



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509 

persuaded though one rose from the dead :" he doei 
not hereby weaken the force of niiracles, or their 
aptness to convince men, and bring them to repent- 
ance ; but rather confirm it : because Moses and the 
prophets had the attestation of many and greatmira- 
cles; and therefore there was no reason to think, that 
they, who would not believe the writings and doctrine 
of Moses and the prophets, which had the confirma- 
tion of so many miracles, and was owned by them- 
selves to have so, should be wrought upon by one 
particular miracle — the coming of one from the. 
dead, and speaking unto them : or, however this 
might move and astonish them, for the present, yet 
it was not likely that the grace of God should con- 
cur with such an extraordinary means, to render it 
effectual to t^ieir conversion and repentance, who 
had wilfnlly despised, and obstinately rejected, that 
which had a much greater confirmation than the 
discourse of a man i^isen from th6 dead, and was 
appointed by God for the ordinary and standing 
means of bringing men to repentance. So that our 
Saviour might, with reason enough, pronounce that 
Tyre and Sidon, who never had a standing revela- 
tion of God to bring them to repentance, nor had 
rejected it, would, upon miracles extraordinarily 
wrought among them, have repented ; and yet deny 
it elsewhere to be likely, that they who rejected a 
standing revelation of God, confirmed by miracles,, 
which called them to repentance, would probably 
be brought to repentance by a particular miracle ; 
or thatGod should afford his grace to make it effec- 
tual for their repentance and salvation. 

The words being thus cleared, I come now to 
raise such observations from them, as may be in- 
structive and useful to us. 



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510 

h I Obs^rvd from ihiis discourse of 6uf SaTtottr,- 
that miracles are of great forc^ and efficacy to bring 
men to repentance. 

This our Saviour's discoarse her6 supposetfa; 
otherwise their impenitence had not been so crimi^ 
nal and inexcusable upon that account, that such 
mighty Mrorks had been done among th^m« aff 
would probelbly hdve prevailed upon some of the 
worst people that had been iti the world ; fot sach 
were the inhabitants of Ty<*e and Sidon, guilty of 
great coTetousness and fraud, pHde and luxury, 
the usual sins of places of great traffic and com- 
merce : and such, to be sure, was Sodom } and yet 
our SaViotir tells us, that the miracle^ vi^bich he had 
wrought in the cities of Israel, would, in all proba^ 
bitity, have brought those great sinners to repent- 
ance ; namely, by bringing them to faith, and con- 
vincing them of the truth and divinity of that doc* 
trine which he presJK^hed tinto them, and which con- 
tains such powerful arguments tb iPepentance and 
amendibent of life. 

II. I observe, likewise, from onr Saviour's dia- 
cotairse, that God is not always obliged to #ork mi- 
i^ftcles for the conversion 6f sinners. It is great 
gbodness in him to afford sufficient means of repent* 
ance to m^n, as he did to Tyre and Sidon, in calK> 
mg them to repentance by his prophet; though suck 
mii^acles were not wrought among them^ as God 
thought fit to accompany our Saviour's preatihing 
withal. 

This I observe, to prevent a kind of bold and 
saucy objection, which some would perhaps be ap< 
to make : If Tyre and Sidon would have repented, 
had shch miracles been wrought among them, as 
our Saviour wrought in Cborazin and Bethdaida, 



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511 

mhHf wwetbey ladt wrmlglrt^ tbal tb^ imglirt toft 
repeated ? To which it is soffiddDt anatrer to stiy^ 
that Qod 16 not obliged to do aU that is possible to 
be dooe, to reclaim Hiea from their sins; he is not 
obliged to overpower their wills, afid to work irre- 
^Btibly upoa their minds, wbioh he can easily do ; 
be is not obliged to work miracles for every particu^ 
lar man's conviction; nor where hii vouc^safeth M 
do this, is he obliged always to work the greatMt 
and most coBvinotng miracles; bis goodndss Will 
not suflRer him to omit what is necessary add suf- 
ficient to bring men to repentance and happiness; 
nay, beyond this he many times does more ; bdt H 
is snfficient to vindicate' the justice and goodness M* 
God, that he 10 hot wanting io us, in afibrding the 
nieans necessary to reclaim us from our sins, and t# 
bring us to goodness. That which is properly our 
{kart, is to make use of tfaoiie melams which God 
affords us to become better, and not to prescribe to 
him how much be should do for us ; to be thankfai 
that be hath done so much, and Mt to find fault 
With bim for having done no more. 

IIL i observe farther^ from our Savionr^s dif^ 
fcourse, diat tbe extenml metfni of repentance whicH 
God afibrds to men, do suppose an inward grace 
of God accompanying diem, sufficiendy enabKd|^ 
men to repent, if it be not their own fault ; I say, k 
aufflcient grace of God accompanying the ontwai*d 
means of repentance, till, by our wiifal and obstinate 
neglect and fesistanee^ and opposition of this grace. 
We provoke God to withdraw it from the means, or 
else to withdraw both the grace and the means 
from nH : otherwise impenitence, after such external 
means afforded, would be no new and special fault. 
F<>r if (he coticdfrence of God's grace with the out- 



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51S 

ward tiiefttts be neceMaty to work repentaDce, then 
the impeDiteoce of those, to whom this grace is Qot 
afforded, which yet is necessary to repentance, ia 
neither any new sin, nor any new aggravation of 
their former impenitence. For no man can imagine 
that the just God will charge men with new guilt, 
and increase their condemnation, for remaining im- 
penitent in such circumstances in which it is im- 
possible for them to repent* 

IV. I observe from this discourseof our Saviour's, 
that an irresistible degree of grace is not necessary 
to repentance, nor commonly afforded to those 
who do repent. God may, where] he pleaseth, 
Avithout injory to any man, overpower bis will, 
and stop him in his course, and hinder him from 
making himself miserable, and by an irresistible light 
convince him of his error and the evil of his ways, 
and bring him to a better mind : but this (jod sel- 
dom does, and, when he does it, it is very probable 
it is not so much for their own sakes, as to make 
them instruments of good to others. Thus by a 
secret l)ut overpowering influence he .overruled 
the disciples to follow our Saviour, and to • leave 
their callings and relations^ and all their temporal 
concernments to do it. fiufeoneof the most remarka- 
ble examples of this extraordinary grace cof God 
is St. Paul, who was violently stopped in his course 
of persecuting the Christians, and conviiiced^f his 
sin, and brought over to Christianity, in a very ex- 
traordinary and forcible manner. And of this mira- 
culous and extraordinary conversion, God hiufiself 
gives this account ; that he was *^ a chosen vessd 
unto him, to bear his name before the gentiles and 
kings, and the children of Israel;" (Actsix. Ifi.) 
And St. Paul tells us, (Gal. i. 15, 16.) that for 



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515 

thig end God bad separated him from his mother's 
womb, and called him by his grace, and revealed bis 
Son to him, in tbat extraordinary manner, that he 
might preach among the heathen. 

But generally God does not bring men thus to re- 
pentance ; nor is it necessary be should^ For if an 
irresistible degree of grace were always necessary 
to bring men to repentance, there could be no dif- 
ference between the impenitence of Cborazin and 
Bethsaida, and of Tyre and Sidon. For, according 
to this doctrine of the necessity of irresistible grace 
to the conversion of every man, it ie evident, that 
Tyre and Sidon neither could nor would have re* 
pented, without an irresistible degree of God's 
grace accompanying the outward means of repent- 
ance which he afforded to them ; because such a 
degree of grace is necessary to repentance, and, 
without it, it is impossible for any man to repent. 
But then it is as plain, on the contrary, that if Cbo- 
razin and Bethsaida had had the same irresistible 
degree of God's grace, together with the outward 
means of repentance, afforded to them, that they 
would have repented its certainly as Tyre and Sidon. 
Where then is the reason of upbraiding the impeni- 
tence of the one more than of the other ? Where the 
a^ravation of the one's guilt above the other? W here 
the justice of pnnishing the impenitence of Chorazin 
and Bethsaida more than theirs of Tyre add Sidon ? 
For, upon this supposition, they must either have re- 
pented both alike, or have been both equally impe- 
nitent. The sum of what I have said is this : that 
if no man does, nor can repent, without such a de- 
gree of God*8 grace as cannot be resisted, no man^s 
repentance is commendable^ nor is one man's impe- 
nitence more blameable than ^another's ; Chorazin 



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514 

and BethBakla can be in ne more fdull fer DOtttiattkljf 
icDpeniteot, than Tyre and SicloD were. For either 
this irresistible grace is afforded to men or not : if it 
be, their repentance is necessary, and they cannot 
help it; if it be not, their repentance is impossible, 
and consequently, their impenitence is necessary, 
and they cannot help it neither. 

y • I observe from the main soope of our Saviour^s 
discourse^ that the sins and impenitence of men 
receive their aggravation^ and consequently shall 
have their punishment proportionable^ to the oppor- 
tunities and n>6ans of repentance which those pen> 
sons have Enjoyed and neglected. 

For what is here said of oairacleB, in by equality 
of reason likewise tcue of all oth^r advantages and 
means of repentance and salvation. Thie reason 
why miracles will be such an Aggravation of the 
(l^ondemnation of men is, because they are so pr<^par 
and powerful a means to convince them of th6 truth 
and divinity of that doctrine which calls them tore** 
pentance. So that all those means which God af- 
fords to us of the knowledge of our duty> Of codtic*- 
tion of the evil and danger of a sinful coursif, are ao 
many helps and motives to repentance, aikd codM- 
qiiently will prove sO many aggravations of our tia 
and punishment, if w6 contini^e impenitent. The 

YI. Sixth and last observatioti, and which nat«h*' 
rally follows from the former, is this: that the casa of 
those, who are impenitent under the gospel, is of iXl 
others the most dangerous^ and their damnatlofn shaU 
be heaviest and most severe* 

And this brings the case of these cities here im tbe 
text home to ourselves. For in truth th^fd is no 
material difference between the case of €horasm 
^nd Bathsaida and Capernautn, and of ourselves in 



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thiecity and nation, who enjoy the clear light of th# 
gospel) with all the freedom and all the advantfiges 
that any people ever did. The mercies of God tp 
this nation have been very great, especially in bring- 
ing us out of that darkness and superstition, which 
covered this western par^ of the world ; in rescuing 
us from that great corruption and degeneracy of the 
Christian religion, which prevailed among us, by so 
early and so regular a reformation ; and in conti-^ 
nuing so long this great blessing to us. The judg- 
ments of God have been likewise very great upon ub 
for our sins. " God hath nmnifested himself by ter- 
rible things in righteousness ;"" our eyes have seen 
many and dismal calamities in the space of a few 
yjears, which call loudly upon us to repent and turn 
to God. God hath afforded us the most effectual 
means of repentance, and hath taken the most effec- 
tual course of bringing us to it. And though our 
blessed Saviour does not speak to us in person, nor 
do we at this day see miracles wrought among us^ 
as the Jews did ; yet we have the doctrine which our 
blessed Saviour preached faithfully transmitted to 
us, and a credible relation of the miracles wrought 
for the confirmation of that doctrine, and many other 
arguments to persuade us of the truth of it, which 
those to whom our Saviour spake had not, nor could 
not then have, taken from the accomplishing of our 
Saviour's predictions, after his death ; the speedy 
firopagation and wonderful success of this doctrine 
in the world, by weak and inconsiderable meaitsy 
against all the power and opposition of the world ; 
the destruction of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of 
the Jewish nation, according to our Saviour's pro- 
phecy; besides many more that might be mentioned. 
And, which is a mighty advantage to us, we are free 



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516 

from those prejudices) against the person of our Sa- 
riour and his doctrine, which the Jews, by the re- 
verence which they bear to their rulers and teachers, 
were generally possessed withal ; we are brought 
up in the belief of it, and have drunk it in by edu- 
cation ; and, if we believe it, as we all profess to do, 
we have all the obligation and all the arguments to 
repentance, which the Jews could possibly have 
from the miracles which they saw : for they were 
means of repentance to them no otherwise than as 
they brought them to the belief of our Saviour's 
doctrine, which called them to repentance. 

So that if we continue impenitent, the same woe is 
denounced against us that is against Chorazin and 
Bethsaida ; and we may be said, with Capernaum, 
to be lifted up to heaven, by the enjoyment of the 
most excellent means and advantages of salvation, 
that any people ever had ; which, if we neglect, and 
still continue wicked and impenitent under them, 
we may justly fear, that with tliem we shall be 
thrown down to hell, and have our place in the 
lowest part of that dismal dungeon, and in the very 
centre of that fiery furnace. 

Never was there greater cause to upbraid the im- 
penitence of any people, than of us, considering the 
means and opportunities which we enjoy ; .and never 
bad any greater reason to fear a severer doom, than 
we have. Impenitence in a heathen ii3 a great sin ; 
else how should God judge the world? But God 
takes no notice of that, in comparison of the impe- 
nitence of Christians, who enjoy the gospel, and are 
convinced of the truth, and upon the greatest reason 
in the world profess to believe it. We Christians 
have all the obligations tp repentance, that reason 
and revelation, nature Hud grace, can lay upon us. 



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317 

Art tbou conviDced that thou hast sinned, and done 
that which is contrary to thy duty, and thereby pro- 
voked the wrath of God, and incensed his justice 
against thee ? As thou art a n)au, and upon the 
stock of natural principles, thou art obliged to re- 
pentance. The same light of reason which disco- 
vers to thee the errors of thy life, and challengeth 
thee for thy impiety and intemperance, for thy in- 
justice and oppression, for thy pride and passion ; 
the same natural conscience which accuseth thee 
of any miscarriages, does oblige thee to be sorry for 
them, ^* to turn from thy evil ways, and to break off 
thy sins by repentance.'" For nothing can be more 
upreasonable, than for a man to know a fault, and 
yet not think himself bound to be sorry for it ; to be 
convinced of the evil of his ways, and not to think 
himself obliged by that very conviction, to turn from 
it, and forsake it. If there be any such thing as a 
natural law written in men*s hearts, which the apo- 
stle tells us the heathens had, it is impossible to ima- 
gine, but that the law which oblige^ men not to 
transgress, should oblige them to repentance in case 
of transgression. And this every man in the .world 
is bound to, though he had bever seen the Bible, nor 
heard of the name of Christ. And the revelation of 
the gospel doth not supersede this obligation, but 
adds new strength and force to it: and by how much 
this duty of repentance is more clearly revealed by 
our blessed Saviour in the gospel ; by how mnch^ 
the arguments which the gospel useth to persuade 
men, and encourage them to repentance, are greater 
and more powerful — by so much is the impeni- 
tence of those who live under the gospel the more 
inexcusable. 

Had we only some faint hopes of God's mercy, a 



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m 

daobftfttl opiQioo nod mmk j^nnwim ot the w* 
liF|ir4i wd puiii3hmeiit$ of i^nother m^M ; pet we 
haFe^ kw witbiQ U9, which, opop the prohability of 
th^8<e copsjcieratiQus, would oblige us to r^peotaooe. 
Iqdeecl, if men were asaqred upoogood grounds, that 
thar^ would be oo future rewards and punisbineQts; 
th^p th^ WPCtion of the I>aw were gone, and it would 
lose its force aod obligation: or if we did despair of 
t^mercjr of <$od, ^nd bad good reason to think re- 
f^tsince impossible, or that it would do iis no good ; 
in thftt ca9^ there would be no ^^cient motive and 
ftrgument to repisotance : for no man can return to 
bis duty, without returning to the love of God and 
goodness ; and no man can return to the love of 
Ood» who believe that he bears an implacable 
hatred against him» sod m resolved to make him mi- 
ne^^bie f^ ever. Purjng this persuasion, no nan 
iCML repent* A|^ this seems to \ye the reason, why 
the devils coatipue impenitent* 

But the heaf^bens were not without hopes of God's 
ipercy, an^ npcm those small hopes which they had, 
they eocouragi^ themselv^ into nepcvatance; as 
yon may see in the instance of the Ninevitea '' Let 
thein tuw ev^ery one from his evil ways, and from 
4he violence that is in their hands. Who>can tell, if 
God will turn and repent, and turn away frqm his 
fieroe anger, that we perish not?" (Joaali iii. 8, 8.) 
But if we, who have the clearest discoveries, Aod the 
bigfaesjt assurance of this, who profess to believe that 
God haf^h declared himself placable to all nvankiiMi, 
that ^^ he is in Christ oreconcilipg the world to hiai- 
nelfy'' and that upon our Tepeatance *' he will not 
impute our sins to us ;*' if we, to whom ** the wrath 
of God is revealed from heaven, against all ungodii- 
:n^s ^d unrighteausness of men," and to whom 



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519 

'< life and immortality are brought to light by the 
gospel f if, after all this, we still go on in an im- 
penitent course, what shall we be able to plead in 
excuse of our^yes fit th^t great day ? ** The men of 
Nineveh shall rise up in judgment" against such an 
in\pf ni^ent generation, " ^n^ condepin it ; because 
they repeqted" upon the terror of lighter thre^ten- 
ings, and upon the encouragement of weaker hopes. 
^q4 therefore it coocerns us, who call our^sel?^ 
Christisins^ and enjoy the clear revelation of the gos- 
pel, ^o IpQk about us, and take heed how we continue 
in an evil course. JPor if we remain impenitent, ^fter 
all the arguments which the gospel, superadded to 
j^e light of (i^ture, a^prds to w to bri^g us to re- 
f^mXwce, it fih^ll pot o^ily '' be iiior<e toleratbJe for 
lib^ wep of JVineveb,*' bpt *' for XyriB ai¥i Sido«i, 
for 3odMm aijd Gprpori?ab,'' the moat wicked antl 
imp^nite^it hc»ithens, " fitlhedaypf judgment, than 
i:ar uSf" For, beca,u«e lip^e bavje j^trQugeir ai^p)eo^ta» 
a.0^ more pow^rfpl ei^oopra^eqaeut^ ito repwtance, 
(thfip Jthey had, if we dp not rep^n^, jnfie ^h^ll meet a 
heavier dpofla, and a AefjQer dawpatiop. The he»- 
Ah€[p ^prld ha4 UMny pKpuies to plpad £q^ thepar 
,«^vQs, whiqh we have ppt^ *^ The tiipes of that ig- 
noraiiice God wipked iat ; .biiit now cpmmaiids aU 
M^n wery where tp irepept ; beqapse he hath ap- 
pointed R day, in U^e i^hieb he will judge th^ world 
,ip fighteism9ne8s, by that Man whom be hath or- 
,d9ip^d9 wberepi* be bajth ^vep asaurance uqto all 
Ifteo, in that \m bath tailed him from the dead/' 



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SERMON CLXXIII. 

OF THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL, AS DISCO- 
VERED BY NATURE, AND BY REVELATION. 

But is now made manifest by the appearing of our 
Saviour Jesus Christy who hath abolished deaths 
and hath brought life and immortality to light 
through the gospel. — 2 Tim. i. 10. 

The design of the apostle in these two Epistles to 
Timothy, is to direct him how he ought to demean 
himself, in the office which he bore in the church, 
which he does in the First Epistle: and to encourage 
him in his work ; which he does h6re in the Se- 
cond ; in which, after his usual salutation, he en- 
devours to arm him against the fear of those perse- 
cntions, and the shame of those reproaches, which 
would probably attend him in the work of the gos- 
pel: (ver. 8.) '*Be not thou therefore ashamed of 
the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner; 
but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel 
according to the power of God, who hath saved us, 
and called us with a holy calling :" as if he had 
said, The God whom thou serves in this employ- 
ment, and by whose power thou art strengthened, 
is he that *^ hath saved and called us vnth a holy 
calling ;'' that is, it is he who, by Jesus Christ, hath 
brought salvation to us, and called us to this holy 
profession ; ** not according to our works," that is, 
' not that we, by any thing that we have done, have 
deserved this at his hand, ** but according to his 



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521 

own purpose and grace,^ that is, according to his 
own gracious purpose, ** which was given in Christ 
before the world began ;" that is, which from all eter- 
nity he decreed and determined to i^ccomplisS by 
Jesus Christ: ^^ but is now made manifest by the 
appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ f that is, 
which gracious purpose of his is now cjlearly disco- 
vered, by our Saviour Jesus Christ's coming into 
the world, '^ who hath abolished death, and hath' 
brought life and immortality to light through the 
gospel." 

Which words express to us two happy effects 
of Christ's appearance: first, the abolishing of 
death ; and, secondly, the bringhig of ^^ life and 
immortality to light/ In the handling of these 
words, I shall. 

First, Open to you the meaning of the several ex- 
pressions in the text. 

Secondly, Shew what our Saviour Jesus Christ 
did towards the abolishing of death,^ and bringing 
to light life and immortality. 

For the first, I shall shew, 

I. What is here meant by ^' the appearing of 
Jesus Christ." 

II. What by the abolishing of death. 

III. What by bringing to light life and immor* 
tality. 

I. What is here meant by ^* the appearing of our 
Saviour Jesus Christ." The Scripture useth seve- 
ral phrases to express this thing to us. As it 
was the gracious design of God the Father, so 
it is Called the giving of his Son, or sending him 
into the world. (John iii. 16.) ** God so loved the 
world, that he gave his ouly-b^otten Son." (Gal. 
iv. 4.) ** In the fulness of time God sent his Son/ 

VOL, VII. 2 M 



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522 

As it was tbe yolantary undertaking of God tlie 
Son, so it is called bis coming into tbe world. In 
relation to bis incarnation, wbereby he was made 
visible to us in bis body, and likewise in reference 
to the obscure promises, and prophecies, and types 
of tbe Old Testament, it is called his manifestation^ 
or appearance. So the apostle expresseth it, (1 John 
iii. 5.) ^* Ye know that be was manifested to take 
away our sins *^ by which we are to understand 
primarily bis incarnation, his s^ppearing in our di- 
ture, whereby he became visible to us. As he was 
God, he could not appear to us, *' dwelling in light 
and glory, not to be approached" by us in this state 
of mortality, and therefore be clothed himself in 
flesb, that be might appear and become manifest 
to us. 

I say, by bis appearing, we are primarily to under- 
stand bis incarnation: yet not only that, but like- 
wise all that was consequent upon this, tbe actions 
of bis life, and bis death and resurrection; because 
all these concur to tbe producing of these happy 
effects mentioned in the text. 

II. What is meant by tbe abolishing of death. 
By this we are not to understand that Christ, by his 
appearance, bath rooted death out of tbe world, so 
that men are no longer subject to it. For we see 
that even good men, and those who are partakers 
of the benefits of Christ's death, are still subject to 
the common law of mortality; but this expression, 
of Christ's having abolished death, signifies tbe con- 
quest and victory which Christ hath gained over 
death in bis own person, in that after he was dead, 
and laid in his grave, he rose again from tbe dead, 
he freed himself from the bands of <]eatb, and brt^ke 
loose from the fetters of it, they not being able to 



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525 

hold him, as the expresfiion is ; (Acts ii. 24.) and 
consequeDtly hath, by this victory over it, given us 
an assurance of a resurrection to a better life. For 
since Christ hath abolished deaths and triumphed 
over it, and thereby over the powers of darkness ; 
(for so the apostle tells us, that by his death, and 
that which followed it, his resurrection from the 
dead, ** he hath destroyed him that had the power 
of death, that is, the devil :'* the devil, he con« 
tributed all he could to the death of Christ, by 
tempting Judas to betray him, and engaging all his 
instruments in the procuring of it ; as he had , be- 
fore brought in death into the world, by tempting th6 
first man to sin, upon which death ensued ; thus far 
he prevailed, and thought his kingdom was safe, 
having procured the death of him who was so great 
an enemy to it; but Christ, by rising from the dead, 
defeats the devil of his design, and plainly conquers 
him, who had arrogated to himself the power of 
death;) I say, since Christ hath thus vanquished 
death, and triumphed over it, and him that had the 
flower of it, death hath lost its dominion, and Christ 
hath taken the whole power and disposal of it ; as 
you find. Rev. i. 18. "^'I am he that liveth and was 
dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, and have 
the keys of hell and of death.'' Now Christ hath 
not only thus conquered death for himself, but like- 
wise for all those who believe on him ; do that death 
shall not be able to keep them for ever under its 
power : but Christ, by the same power whereby he 
raised up himself from the dead, will also *' quicken 
our mortal bodies,*' and raise them up to a new life ; 
for he keeps •• the keys of hell and death ;** and, as 
a reward of his sufierings and submission to death, 
he hath power conferred upon him, to give eternal 

2 M 2 



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334 

life to as many lets he pleases* In this sense, d^iith, 
though it.be not quite chased out of the world, yet 
it is yirtnaliy and in effect abolished by the ap- 
pearance of Jews Christ, having, in a great mea- 
sure, lost its power and dominion ; and since Christ 
hath assured us of a final rescue from it, the power 
of it is rendi^red insignificant and inconsiderable, 
and the sting and terror of it is taken away. So 
the apostle tells us in the forementioned place, (Heb. 
ii. 14, 15.) that Christ {laving, *' by death, destroyed 
him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 
he hath delivered those who, through fear of death, 
were all their life-time subject to bondage." And 
not only the power and terror of death is, for the 
present, in a great measure, taken away ; but it shall 
at last be utterly destroyed. So the apostle tells 
us ; (i Cor. xv. 26.) ^* The last enemy that shall be 
destroyed is ' death ;" which makes the apostle, in 
the latter end of this chapter, to break forth into 
that triumph : (ver. 54, 55.) " So when this corrup- 
tible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal 
shall have put on immortality, then shall be brbug^ 
to pass the saying that is written, Death is swal- 
lowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? 
O grave, where is thy victory ?" 

III. What is here meant by bringing ^' life and 
immortality to light.*' Life and immortality is here 
by a frequent Hebraism put for immortal life; as 
also, immediately before the text, you find purpose 
and grace, put for God's gracious purpose. The 
phrase of bringing to light, is spoken of things 
vfhich were before either wholly, or in a great mea- 
sure hid, either were not at all discovered before, 
or not so clearly. Now, because the heathens, by the 
light of nature, bad some probable conjectures and 



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5J5 

hopes concerning another life after this, thej were / 
in some measure persuaded, that when men died \ 
they were not wholly extinguished, but did pass 
into another world, and did there receive rewards 
suited to their carriage and den^eanour in this life ; 
and because the Jews also, before Christ, had these 
natural suggestions and hopes strengthened and 
confirmed by revelations, which God made unto 
them under the Old Testament — ^therefore we cannot 
understand this phrase of Christ's bringing immor- 
tal life to light absolutely, as if it were wholly a. 
new discovery, which the world had no apprehen- 
sion of before; but only comparatively, as a thing 
which was now rendered, by the coming of Christ 
into the world, incompaCrably more evident and 
manifest. Quicquid enim philosophic quicquid rabini 
ea de re dicunt, tenebr^B sunt^ si ad 'evangelii lucem 
comparentur: "Whatever the philosophers, what- / 
ever the rabbins, say of this matter, is but darkness, 
compared to the clear light and revelation of the 
gospel." I proceed to the 

Second thing I proposed; viz. To shew what 
Christ's coming into the world hath done towards 
the abolishing of death, and the bringing of ** life 
and immortaUty to light." I shall speak distinctly to 
these two: 

I. What Christ's appearance and coming into the 
world hath done towards the abolishing of death, 
or how death is abolished by the appearance of 
Christ. I have already shewn in the explication, 
that this phrase, the abolishing of death, signifies 
the conquest which he made over death in his own 
person for himself; the fruit of which victory re- 
dounds to us. For in that Christ, by his Divine 
power, did conquer it, and set himself free from the 



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526 

bands of it, this shews that the power of it is now 
brought into other handiS^, that '^ Christ hath the keys 
of hell and death ;'' so that though the devil, by 
tempting to sin, brought death into the world, yet 
it shall not be in his power to keep men always 
under the power of it ; and hereby the terror of this^ 
great enemy is in a good measure taken away, and 
he shall at last be«totally destroyed, by the same 
hand that hath already given him his mortal wound. 

Now this is said to be done by the appearing of 
Jesus Christ, forasmuch as, by his coming into the 
world, and taking our nature upon him, he became 
capable of encountering this enemy, and overcoming" 
him, in such a manner, as might give us assurance of 
a final victory over it, and for the present comfort 
and encourage us against the fears of it. For, 

1. By taking our nature upon him, he became sub- 
ject to Ihe frailties and miseries of mortality, and 
linble to the suffering of death, by which expiation 
of sin was made. Sin was the cause of death. So 
the apostle tells us ; ** By man sin entered into the 
world, and death by sin, so that death came upon 
all.** Now the way to cure this malady which was 
come upon our nature, and to remove this great mis- 
chief which wa« come into the world, is by taking 
away the meritorious cause of it, which is the guilt 
of sin. Now this Christ hath taken away by his 
death. Christ, that he might abolish death, hath 
appeared for the abolition of sin. So the apostle 
tells us ; (Heb. ix. 26 — 28*) " But now once in the 
end of the world hath he appeared, to put away sin 
by the sacrifice of himself," etc aOerijcnv d/iopriac, " for 
the abolishing of sin ;" and to shew that this was 
intended as a remedy of the great mischief and in* 
convenience of mortality, which sin bad brought; 



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527 

upon mankincU the appstle immediately adds, in the 
neii:t verse, that ** as it is appointed unto all men 
ODce to die, so Christ was once offered to bear the 
sios of many ;" and by his means the sting o£ death 
is taken away, and death in effect conquered; the 
consideration of which makes the apostle break out 
into that thankful triumph, (1 Cor. xv. 56 — 67.) *' O 
death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy 
victory ? The sting of death is sin ; but thanks be 
to God, which giveth us the victory, through our 
Lord Jesus Christ." 

2. As Christ, by taking our nature upon him, he*' 
came capable of suffering death, and thereby making 
expiation for sin ; so by dying be became capable of 
rising again from the dead, whereby he hath gained 
a perfect victory and conquest over death and the 
powers of darkness. And this account the apostle 
gives us of Christ's taking our nature upon him, as 
being one of the principal ends and designs of it : 
(Heb. ii. 14 — 16.) *** Forasmuch then as the chiU 
dren are partakers of flesh and blood, he also him-» 
self likewise took part of the same ; that through 
death he might destroy him that had the power of 
death, that is, the devil T that is, that, by taking our 
nature upon him, he might be capable of encounter^ 
ing this enemy, that is, of encountering death in his 
own territories, and beating him in his own quar- 
ters ; and by rising out of his grave, be might give 
U9 full and comfortable assurance of the possibility 
of being rescued from the power of tlit3 grave, an^ 
recovered out of the jaws of death. And therefore 
the wisdom of God pitched upon thi&ii way, as that 
which was most fit and proper to encourage and 
bear us up against tb^ h rrors of this enemy ; and 
by giving us a lively instance, ami example of a 



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588 

victory over death, achieved by one clothed with 
mortality like ourselves, ** we might have strong 
consolation and good hope through grace," and 
might be fully assured that he, who hath conquered 
this enemy for himself, was able also to conquer 
him for us, and to deliver us from the grave. There- 
fore the apostle reasons from the fitness and suita- 
bleness of this dispensation, as if no other argument 
could have been so proper to arm us against the 
fears of deaths and to satisfy us that we should not 
always be held under the power of it ; '* Foras- 
much as the children are partakers of flesh and 
blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; 
that through death he might destroy him that had 
the power of death, and deliver them who through 
the fear of death,'* &c. The force of which ail- 
ment is this : that seeing men are of a mortal nature 
(for that he means by being ^'partakers of flesh 
and blood,") nothing can be a greater comfort to us 
against the fears of death, than to see death con- 
quered by flesh and blood, by one of the same na- 
ture with ourselves. Therefore the apostle adds, 
(ver. 16.) " For verily he took not on him the nature 
of angels, but the seed of Abraham." If he had 
assumed the angelical nature, which is immortal, 
this would not have been so sensible a conviction 
to us of the possibility of it, as to have a lively in- 
stance and example presented us, of one in our 
Batiire conquering death, and triumphing over the 
^ave. I proceed to the . 

II. Sec#nd thing. What Christ hath done towards 
the bringing of' life and immortality to light." And 
because I told you that this is comparatively spoken, 
and signifies to us a greater degree of evidence, and 
a firmer assurance given us by .the Christian religion. 



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539 

than the world had before, therefore it will be re- 
quisite to inquire into these two things: 

First, What assurance men had or might have had 
of the immortality of the soul and a future state, 
before the coming of Christ into the world, and the 
revelation of the gospeL 

Secondly, What greater evidence, and what higher 
d^ree of assurance, the gospel now gives us of im- 
mortal life; what greater ai^umerits this new revela- 
tion and discovery of God to the world doth furnish 
us with, to persuade us of this matter, than the 
world was acquainted withal before. 

First, What assurance men had or might have had 
of the immortality of the soul, and consequently of 
a future state, before the revelation of the gospel by 
Christ's coming into the world. And here are two 
things distinctly to be considered. 

First, What arguments natural reason doth furnish 
us withal to persuade us of this principle, that our 
souls are immortal, and that there is another state 
remains for men after this life. 

Secondly, What assurance de facto the world had 
of this principle, before Christ's coming into the 
world : what the heathens, and what the Jews, had. 
The reason why I shall speak to these distinctly, is, 
because they are two very different inquiries— 
what assurance men might have had from the 
principles of natural reason concerning this matter, 
and what assurance they had de facto. I begin 
with the 

First, What arguments natural reaison doth fur- 
nish, us withal to persuade us to this principle, that 
our souls are immortal, and consequently that ano- 
ther state remains for men after this life. And here 
I shall shew. 



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530 

I. How much may be said for it 

IL How little can be said against it But before 
I come to speak particularly to the arguments, 
which natural reason affords us for the proof of this 
principle, I shall premise certain general considera- 
tions, which may give light and force to the follow- 
ing arguments. As, 

First, By the soul we mean a part of man distinct 
from his body, or a principle in him which is not 
matter. I choose rather to describe it this way, 
than by the essential properties of it, which are bard 
to fix upon, and are more remote from common 
apprehension. Our Saviour, when he would con- 
Tince his disciples, after his resurrection^ that the 
body wherein he appeared to them was a real body, 
and that he was not a spirit or apparition, he bids 
them touch and handle him ; ** For (says he) a spirit 
hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me to have." So 
that by the soul or spirit of a man, we mean some 
principle in man, which is really distinct from his 
visible and sensible part, from all that in man which 
affects our outward senses, and which is not to be de- 
scribed by any sensible and external qualities, such 
as we use to describe a body by: because it is sup- 
posed to be of such a nature, as does not fall under 
the cognizance and notice of any of our senses. 
And therefore I describe it, by removing from it all 
those qualities and properties which belong to that 
which falls under our senses ; viz. that it is some^ 
thing in man distinct from his body, a principle in 
him which is not matter; that principle which is 
the cause of those several operations, which, by in- 
ward sense and experience, we are conscious to our- 
selves of; such are perceptiooi understanding, me* 
mory, will. So that the most plain and popular nor 



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531 

tioii that we can have of the soul is, that it is some- 
thing in us which we never saw, and which is the 
cause of those effects which we find in ourselves; 
it is the principle whereby we are conscious to our- 
selves^ that we perceive such and such objects, that 
we see, or hear, or perceive any thing by any other 
sense ; it is that whereby we think and remember, 
whereby we reason about any thing, and do freely 
choose and refuse such things as are presented to us. 
These operations every one is conscious to himself 
of» and that which is the principle of these, or the 
cause from whence these proceed, is that which we 
mean by the soul. 

Secondly, By the immortality of the soul, I mean 
nothing else, but ^at it survives the body, that 
when the body dies aftd falls to the ground, yet this 
principle, which we call the soul, still remains and 
lives separate from it ; that is, there is still a part 
of us which is free from the fate of the body, and 
continues tx> perform all those operations, to the per- 
formance of which the organs of the body are not 
necessary ; that is, when otir bodies are destitute of 
life, and become a dead carcass, there is still some- 
thing that did belong to us, which retains the power 
of understanding, which thinks, and reasons, and 
remembers, and does all these freely. 

Thirdly, That he that goes about to prove the 
soul's immortality, supposeth the existence of a 
Deity, that there is a God. For although there be 
a very intimate and strict connexion between the 
two principles as to us, as being these two great pil- 
lars of all religion ; yet that which is first and most 
fundamental to all religion, is the existence of a, 
God ; which, if it be not first proved, the best argu- 
ments for the ^QixVs immortality lose their force. 



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639 

Therefore, as to the present argutneot^ I suppose the 
being of Grod as a thing acknowledged, and not 
now to be proved; which I may the better do, hav- 
ing formerly endeavoured to make good this grand 
principle of religion, against the pretensions of the 
atheists. 

Fourthly, The existence of a God being supposed, 
this doth very nuich facilitate the other, of the soul's 
immortality. For this being an essential- property 
of that Divine nature, that he is a spirit, that is, 
something that is not matter ; it being once granted 
that God is, thus much is gained, that there is such 
a thing as a spirit, an immaterial substance, that is 
not liable to die or perish ; so that he that goes 
about to prove the immortality of the soul, shall not 
need to prove that there may b# such a thing as a 
spirit, that the notion of an immaterial substance 
does not imply a contradiction; because, supposing 
that there is a God, who is essentially a spirit,' there 
can be no doubt of the possibility of such a thing 
as a spirit; and though there be this difference be- 
tween God and all other spirits, that he is an infinite 
spirit, whereas others are but finite; yet no man 
that grants the existence of an infinite spirit, can 
with any pretence or colour of reason deny the pos- 
sibility of a finite spirit. 

Fifthly, and lastly, It is highly reasonable that men 
should acquiesce and rest satisfied in such reasons 
and arguments for the proof of any thing, as the 
nature of the thing to be proved will bear ; because 
there are several kinds and degrees of evidence, 
which all things are not equally capable of. It is 
sufficient that the evidence be such as the nature of 
the thing to be proved will admit of, and such as 
prudent men make no scruple to admit for sufficient 



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' 535 

evidetice for things of the like nature, and such as, 
supposing the thing to be, we cannot ordinarily ex* 
pect better, or greater evidence for it. 

There are two kinds of evidences, which are the 
highest and most satisfactory that this world affords 
to us ; and those are, the evidence of sense, and ma- 
thematical demonstration. Now there are many 
things, concerning which the generality of men pro- 
fess themselves to be well satisfied, which do not 
afford either of these kinds of evidence. There is 
none of us but doth firmly believe that we were 
born, though we do not remember any such thing; 
no man's memory <ioes furnish him with the testi- 
mony of his senses for this matter, nor can any man 
prove this by a mathematical demonstration, nor by 
any necessary argument, so as to shew it impossible 
that the thing should be otherwise. For it is possi- 
ble that a man may come into the world otherwise, 
than by the ordinary course of generation, as the 
first man did, who was created immediately by God; 
and yet I know no man in the world who doubts in 
the least concerning this matter, though he have no 
other argument for it, but the testimony of others, 
and his own observation, how other persons like 
himself came into the world. And it is reasonable 
to acquiesce in this evidence, because the nature of 
the thing affords no greater. We, who never were 
at Jerusalem, do firmly believe that there is such a 
place, upon the testimony and relation of others : 
and no man is blamed for this, as being over-^credu- 
lous; because no man, that will not take the pains to 
go thither, can have any other greater evidence of it, 
than the general testimony of those who say they 
have seen it And indeed almost all human affairs, 
I am sure the most important, are governed and 



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534 

Conducted by stich evidence, as falls very much 
short, both of the evidence of sense and of matbevr 
matical demonstration. 

To apply this then to my present purpose. That 
the soul of man is of an imrarortal nature, is not ca- 
pable of all kinds and degrees of evidence. It can- 
not be proved by our senses, nor is it reasonable to 
e?(pect it should be so proved ; because the soul is 
supposed, by every one that diat^ourseth of it, to he 
a thing of sucb a nature, as cannot be seen or 
handled, or fall under any other of our senses: nor 
can it be proved to us by our own experience^ 
-while we are in this world ; because whoever dies^ 
which is the only trial that can be made whether 
our souls remain after our bodies, goes out of this 
world. As for mathematical demonstration, the 
nature of the thing renders it incapable of it. It re- 
mains, then, that we rest contented with such argu* 
nients as the nature of the thing will bear, and with 
such evidence as men are contented to accept of, 
and do account sufficient, in other matters : such 
evidence, as a prudent considering man, who is not 
credulous on the one hand, and on the other is not 
prejudiced by any interest against it, would rest 
satisfied in. 

Having premised these general considerations to 
clear my way, I now come to speak to the particu- 
lar arguments, whereby the iiHunortality of the soul 
may be made out to our reason. And the best way 
to estimate the force of the arguments which I shall 
bring for it, will be to consider beforehand with 
ourselves what evidence we can, in reason, expect 
for a thing of this nature. Suppose our souls be 
immortal ; by what kind of arguments could we 
desire to be assured of it ? Setting aside miracles 



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535 

and Divine revelation, coald we desire more than 
this ?— 

I. That the thing be a natural notion and dictate 
of our mindsL 

II. That it doth not contradict any other prin- 
ciple that nature hath planted in ub, but does very 
well accord and agree virith all other the most 
natural notions of our minds. 

III. That it be suitable to our natural fears and 
hopes. 

IV. That it tends to the happinesak of roan, and 
the good order and goverosnent of the world • 

y. That it gives the most rational account of all 
those inward actions which we are conscious to 
ourselves of, as perception, understanding, memory, 
will ; which we cannot, without great unreasonable* 
ness, ascribe to matter as the cause of them. If all 
these be thus, as I shall endeavour to make it ap- 
pear they are, what greater satisfaction could we 
desire to have of the immortality of our souls, thaa 
these arguments give us ? I do not say that any 
one of these arguments doth sufficiently conclude 
this thing ; nor is it necessary, that, taken singly 
and by themselves, they should do it ; it is sufficient 
that they concur to make up one entire argument,, 
which may be a sufficient evidence of the soul's im** 
mortality. To illustrate this by an instance : sup- 
pose a man should use these two arguments, to 
prove that such a man deserves to be credited ia 
such a relation : — 6rst, because he had sufficient 
knowledge of the thing he relates; and, secondly, 
because he is a^man of integrity and fidelity. Nei- 
ther of these alone would prove the man to be wor- 
thy of credit, though both together make up a good 
argundent. So it is in these arguments which I have 



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556 

produced ; it may be no one of them is a sufficient 
inducement, taken singly and by itself, to satisfy a 
man fully that the soul is immortal ; and yet they 
may concur together to make a very powerful ar- 
gument. I begin with the 

I. First, That our souls are of an immortal na- 
ture, that they do not die and perish with oClr bodies, 
but pass into another state upon the dissolution o£ 
our bodies, is a natural notion and dictate of our 
minds. That I call a natural notion, which the 
minds of all men do ndtuneilly hit upon and agree 
in, notwithstanding the distance and remoteness of 
the several parts of the world from one another^ 
notwithstanding the different tempers, and manner 
and ways of education. The only way to measure 
whether any thing be natural or not, is by inquir* 
ing, whether it agree to the whole kind or not: if it 
do, then we call it natural. Omnium consensus na- 
V tune vox esty " The consent of all is the voice of 
"^nature," says Tully, speaking of the universal agree- 
ment of all nations in this apprehension, that the 
souls of men remain after their bodies. And this 
he tells us he looks upon as a very great argument : 
McLximum vere argumentum est, naturam ipsam de tM- 
mm'taUtate animarum tacitamjudicarey quod omnibus 
eune sint^ et maxime qutdem^ quis post morlem/uiura 
sunt: "This is a very great argument, that nature 
doth secretly, and in men's silent thoughts, deter- 
mine the immortality of the soul, that all men are 
solicitous of what shall become of them after death.*' 
Nescio quomodo inhteret in mentibus quasi seculorum 
quoddam angurium futurorumy idque in maximis in- 
geniis altissimisque animis et existit tnaxime et ap^ 
paret faciUime : -** I know not how (saith he) there 
sticks in the mind a certain kind of presage of a fu- 



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537 

ture state, and this is most deeply fixed, and dis- 
covers itself soonest in ttie choicest spirits." Again 
the same author, Ut decs esse natura opinamurf sic 
permanere animas arbitramur consensu nationum am- 
nium : *' As this opinion is planted in us by nature, 
that there is a God, by the consent of all nations we 
believe that souls remain after the body." I might 
multiply testimonies to this purpose out of the an- 
cient heathen writers ; but these which I have pro« 
diiced out of this great author are so plain and ex- 
press, that I need bring no other. 

As for those barbarous nations which have been 
discovered in these latter ages of the world, and 
which, before the first planting of America, were 
never known to have held correspondence with 
these parts of the world, yet all those nations agree 
in this principle, of the immortality of the soul ; nay, 
even the most barbarous of those nations^ those 
who are most inhuman and eat one another, those 
of Joupinamboult, in Brasil, who are said by some 
authors, but I think not upon sufficient grounds, 
not to acknowledge the being of a God; yet even 
these (as Lerius tells us, who lived among them) 
had a very fixed and firm persuasion of this prin- 
ciple of religion, the immortality ofthesoul. ^^There 
is not (says he) any nation in the world more re- 
mote from all religion than these were ; yet to shew 
that there is some light in the midst of this dark- 
ness, I can (says he) truly affirm, that they have not 
only some apprehensions of the immortality of the 
soul, but a most confident persuasion of it. Their 
opinion (says he) is, that the souls of stout and va- 
liant men after death fiy beyond the highest moun- 
tains, and there are gathered to their fathers and 
grandfathers, and live in pleasant gardens, with all 

VOL. VII. 2n 



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&S9 

mMtter of ddtgMs^; but the soufe of dlofliftrt aod inJ 
Active tnen, atd those who do nothing for their 
country, are carried to Aygman (so they call Che 
devil) and live vrith him in perpetual torments.T 
The like Xaveriiis and dther», who laboured in tlMf 
conversion of the remote part» of the East Indies, 
tell UB concerning those nations, that they fonml 
th^m gerierally possessed with this principle, •f thi* 
sonfs immortality. 

Now what wilt we call a natural notibn, if not 
that which mankind, in all places of the world, in 
all ages, so far as history informs, did universally 
agree in ? What evidence greater than this can any 
inan give, to shew that any thing is natural? i^nd 
if we believe a God (which I told you I do all along 
in this argument suppose to be already proved), can 
we hnagine that this wise and good God would plant 
such a notion and apprehension in the understand-^ 
ings of men, as would put an' universal cheat and 
delusion upon human nature? 

And that the universal consent of all nations in 
this principle cannot be resolved either into the 
fears and groundless jealousy and superstition of 
human nature, nor into universal tradition, which 
had its original from some impostor, nor into rea-* 
son and policy of state, I might shew particularly : 
but, having formerly done that, concerning the uni- 
versal consent of all nations in the belief of a God, 
aud the reason being the very same, as to this prin- 
ciple of the immortality of the soul, I shall not neecf 
to do this over again upon this argument. 

And that some persons, and particular sects in 
the world, have disowned this principle, is no suffi- 
cient objection against it. It cannot be denied, but 
the Epicureans among the philosophers did re^ 



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599; 

AQ^nde MiSfo ^fiuKiifl^x and soiMI ^\m amoBg die* 
6toic» dq&p^ak doobtfuUy of k. Tbe Sadduoeea«. 
like^i^e, WiiAvi^ t^ Jew» fell into Ulii error» upon 
a mistake aail mitfapprehengion of the doctrine of, 
tb^ir master^ Sadocg who» aa Josefiihus tells os, did 
use to Hicalcate tbia principle to bis scholars, that 
though there wcfrd no rewards ilor ponisbnents after 
this life, y^t men Oo^t to be ^ood and live vin- 
tuottsl j; fronk MFhenoe, io process of tune, by heat of 
opposition agaitot tb^" phafiseea^ who brought in 
Oral tradition, and made it equal with the written 
word of God, they fell into th^t error, and denied 
the soul's immortality, not finding such clear texts 
for it in the Old Testa<nett ai^ to tbem did seem 
fully cdavincfog of this truth* XaTerius likewise 
tells US, that among the several sects of religion 
wbich he foupd in Japan, thei^ was one which de^ 
nied the imoioftality of the soul, and that there were 
any spirits ; but he says they were a sort of notori- 
ously wicked and vicious persons. 

To these instances, which are so few, and bear 
no proportion to the generality of mankind, I have 
these two things to say : 

1. That no argument can be drawn a monstro ad 
naturam. A thing may be natural, and yet some 
instances may be brought to the contrary : but 
these are but few in comparison, and like monsters, 
which are no argument against nature. No man 
will deny that it is natural for men to have two eyes, 
and five fingers upon a hand ; though there are se- 
veral instances of men born but with one eye, and 
with four or six fingers. 

2. But especially in matters of religion and dis* 
course, which are subject to liberty, men may oflTer 
violence to nature, and, to gratify their lusts and 

2n 2 



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iiitereati, may by false reaaomugs debauch their istv^ 
derstaoding, and by long striving against the na^ 
tnral bent and bias of it, may alter tbeir apprehen- 
sions of things, and persuade others to the same : 
but nothing that is against nature can prevail very 
far, but nature will still be endeavouring to recover 
itself, and to free itself from the violence which is 
offered to it. So that men's understandings, left to 
themselves, and not having some false bias put upon 
them, out of a design of pride^ and singularity m 
opinion, which was the case of Epicurus ; or out of 
the interest of some lust, and a design taset men at 
liberty to sin, which m the case of most who have re- 
nounced this principle : I say, nothing but one of 
these two can ordinarily make men deny the im* 
mortality of the souK Thus I have done with the 
first argument; namely, that the immorality of the 
soul is a natural notion and dictate of our minds^ 



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SERMON CLXXIV. 

OF TUB IMMORTALITY OF THS 80UL^ A8 DIS€OV£RED 
BY NATURE AND BY REVELATION* 

Siit is now made manifest by the appearing of our 
Saviour Jesus Christy who hath abolished death, 
and hath brought life and immortality to light 
through the gospel. — 2 Tim. i. 10. 

I PROCEED to the second arg;anient, that this no- 
tion or principle of the immortality of the soul, 
doth not contradict any other principle tb4t nature 
hath planted in us, but doth very well accord and 
agree with all those other notions which are most 
natural. I shaH mention two, which «eem to be 
the most natural notions that we have, and the most 
deeply rooted in our natures ; the one is the exist- 
ence and the perfections of God ; and the other the 
difference of good and evil* Mankind do univer- 
sally agree in these two principles, that there is a God 
who is essentially good and just, and that there is a 
real difference between good and evil, which is not 
founded in the opinion and imaginations of persons, 
or in the custom and usage of the world, but m the 
nature of things. Now this principle of the immor- 
tality of the soul, and future rewards after this life, 
is so far from clashing with either of these principles, 
that the contrary assertion, viz. that our souls are 
mortal, and that there is nothing to be hoped for, or 
feared, beyond this life, would very much contradict 
those other principles. To shew this then par- 
ticularly. 



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542 

1. The imtuortality of the soul is very agreeable 
to the natural notion which we have of God, one 
part whereof is, that he is essentially good and 
just 

(1.) For his goodness. It is very agreeable to 
that, to think that God would noake some creatures 
for as long a duration as they are capable of. The 
wisdom of God hath chosen to display itself, in cre- 
ating variety of things of different degrees and per- 
fections ; things devoid of life and sense ; and se- 
veral degrees and orders of sensitive creatures, of 
different shapes and figures, of different magnitude ; 
some vastly great, others extremely little, others of 
middlp sort between these. And himself beieg a 
pure spirit, we have no reason to diMbt, but he 
oould make creatures of a spiritual nature, and 
iauoh as should have no principle of self-corruption 
io tbem. And seeing be could make creatures of 
socii perleclian, if we believe him to be essentially 
good, we have no reason to doubt^ but that he hath 
ik>ne 80. For it is the very nature of goodness to 
^ofiMuucata aad iliffuse itself, and to delight in 
doing ao; aad we cannot imagine, but that the same 
4;w6neM9 urbioh prompted and inclinied him to give 
beings those croatares which are of an inferior de- 
gfm oi perfection, would move him likewise to 
make creatures more perfect, and capable of greater 
^Agrees of kappinesa, and of a longer enjoyment of 
i^ If it Wf^re in bis power to make such ; and no 
man that believes the omnipotency of God can 
doubt Qf tkifi. For he who by a pure act of his will 
•fmp oommaud thiqgs to be« ami in an instant to 
jstart out iot nothing, can as eaeily make one fK>rt 
af creatures as another. Now the power of God 
being supposed, his goodness secures us of his will: 



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64A 

for we caouot ims^ne ajiy $ncb thtf)|; as envT m Jt 
.£eiag which we suppose to be perfectly good 4 no- 
thing beijag^ oiore inconsistent with perfect good- 
ness, than to be unwilling, to communicate bappi- 
ness to others, and to grudge that others should 
partake of it. 

Now this being supposed, that God could and 
would make creatures of a spiritual and immortal 
nature, and the utmost imaginable perfections of such 
creatures being knowledge and liberty, wherever 
these perfections are found, we have reason to coo* 
.olude that creature to be endowed with a principle 
that is of a spiritual and immortal nature. Now 
these perfections of understanding and will being 
found m roan^ this argues him to be endowed with 
such a principle, as is in bis own nature capable of 
an immortal duration. 

It is true, indeed, this spiritual part of man, which 
,we call his soul, is united to a visible and mate- 
rial part, viz. his body ; the union of which parts 
constitutes a peculiar sort of creature, which is 
tiiriusque mundi nextts^ unites the material and im- 
material world, the world of matter and of spirits. 
And as it is very suitable to the wisdom of God, 
which delights in variety, that there should be a sort 
of creatures compounded of both these principles^ 
matter and spirit; so it is very agreeable to bis 
goodness to think, that he would design such crea- 
tures for as long a duration and continuance as they 
were capable of. For as it is the effects of ffobd- 
ness to bring creatures forth into the possession of 
that life and happiness which they are capable of; 
so to continue them in the enjoyment of it for so 
long as thiey are capabje. 

The sum of all this is, that as it is agreeable to 



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544 

the wisdom of God, which made the world, to dis- 
play itself in all variety of creatures ; so it is agree- 
able to his goodness, to make some of as perfect a 
kind as creatures are capable of being. Now it 
' being no repugnancy nor contradiction, that a crea- 
ture should be of a spiritual and immortal nature, 
we have no reason to think, but that the fruitful- 
ness of the Divine goodness hath brought forth such 
creatures ; and if there be reason to conclude any 
thing to be of a spiritual and immortal nature, cer- 
tainly the principle of understanding and liberty, 
which we are conscious of in ourselves, deserves to 
be reputed such. 

(2.) It is very agreeable to the justice of God, to 
think the souls of men remain after this life, that 
there may be a state of reward and recompence in 
another world. If we believe God to be holy and 
just, we cannot but believe that he loves righteous* 
ness and goodness, and hates iniquity; and that, as 
he is governor and public magistrate of the world, 
he is concerned to countenance and encourage the 
one, and to discountenance and discourage the 
other. Now the providences of God being in a 
great measure promiscuously administered in this 
world, so that no man can make any certain judg- 
ment of God's love and hatred towards persons by 
what befals thepi ip this world, it being the lot of 
good men many times to suffer and be afflicted, and 
of wipked men to live in a flourishing and prosper- 
ous condition ; I say, things being thus, it is very 
agreeable to those notions which we have of the 
' Divine holiness and justice, to believe that there will 
a time come, when this wisie and just Governor of 
the world will make a wide and visible difference 
between the righteous and the wicked; so that 



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^45 

though for a whil# the justice of God may hm 
doused, yet there will a time come when it shall 
be clearly manifested, and every eye see it and bear 
witness to it; when '* judgment shall break forth 
as the light, and righteousness as the noon-day/* It is 
possible that sin for a while may go unpunished, nay, 
triumph and prosper ; and that virtue and innocence 
may not only be unrewarded, but oppressed, and de- 
spised, and persecuted. And this may be recon- 
cileable enough to the wisdom of God's providence 
and^the justice of it, supposing the immortality of 
the soul, and another state after this life, wherein all 
things shall be set straight, and every man shall re- 
ceive according to his works : but unless this be 
supposed, it is impossible to solve the justice of 
God's providence. Who will believe that the affairs 
of the world are administered by him who loves, 
righteousness, and hates all the workers of iniquity, 
who will not let the least service that is done to him 
pass unrewarded, nor, on the other hand, acquit the 
guilty, and let sin go unpunished, which are the 
properties of justice ; I say, -who will believe thiii, 
that looks into the course of the world, and sees with 
how little difference and distinction of good and bad 
the affairs of it are managed ? That sees virtue dis- 
countenanced and despised, poor and destitute, af- 
flicted and tormented ; when wickedness is many 
times exalted to high places, and makes a great 
noise and ruffle in the world ? He that considers 
what a hazard many times good men run, how for 
goodness' sake they venture, and many tiroes quit all 
the contentments and enjoyments of this life, and 
submit to the greatest sufferings and calamities that 
human nature is capable of; while in the mean time 
prosperity is poured into the lap of the wicked, and 



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^46 

HeavdD samis to look plfiWiapUjr upon ttioM tbftt 
detl treacherously, aed to l^e silent ^vkilftt tfie 
ividcad devours tbe iu«q that is more righteous than 
JiiioBelf ; lie that considers this, and ca9» without 
aupposi^ anothwiife after tbh^ pretend to viodicata 
.the justice of tbese thiogs, uiust be as hliod as the 
fortune that governs thetn, . Would not this ha a 
perpetual stain and bleoaish upon tbi^ Divine Provi^ 
deoce, diat Abe), who offered up a better sacrifice 
than Caio» and '' had this teatimouy, that he pleaded 
God r yet, after all tbi?, should have no othfer re- 
ward for it, but to be sljaiu by his brotf^er, ivbo had 
offended God by a slight and conteuiptuous o4«r- 
iug? If there were no reward to be expected after 
this life, would not this have been a «ad eKample to 
the world, to soe one of the first men that served 
^God acceptably thus rewarded? What a pitiful en- 
couragement would it be to men to be good» to see 
profane Esau blessed with the dew of heavien, aud 
fatness of the earth ; and to hear good old Jacob, ifi 
the end and conclusion of his days, to Goaiplaio» 
*' Few and evil have the day3 of my pilgrimage 
been !' If this had been the etui of Esau and Jacob, 
It would puzzle all the wit and reason of manjkjud 
to wipe off this reproach from the pro? idence of God, 
and vindicate the justice of it. And then^re I do 
not wonder, that the greatest Wits among tbs heathen 
pliilosophers were so much puzzled with this ob- 
jection against tbe providence of God — If the wiae, 
and just, and good God do administer the affairs of 
the world, and be concerned in the good or bad ac- 
tions of men, €ur bonis male H malU bene t '* How 
comes it to pass, that good men many times are bbm- 
serable, and bad men so happy in the world ?" And 
they had no other way to wipe off this objection, 



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t>iit by referring these thiogs to another w^rld, 
"wberein the temppral safferinge of good oien shouM 
be eternally reMrarded, and the short and traosieiit 
tiappiness of wicked men should be rendered insig- 
nifioaot, and drowfied in an eternity of misery. 

So that, if we believe the being of God, and the 
providence of God (which I <lo all along take for 
granted in this argument), there is no other way ima- 
ginable to solve the equity and justice of God's pro- 
vidence, but upon this supposition — that there is an- 
other life after this. For to say, that virtue is a suf- 
ficient and abundant reward for itself, though it have 
some truth in it^ if we set aside those sufferings^ and 
miseries, and calamities, which virtue is frequently 
attended with in this life ; yet, if these betaken in, it 
is but a very jejune and dry speculation. For con- 
sidering the strong propension and inclination of 
human nature to avoid these evils and inconveni- 
encies, a state of virtue attended with great sufferings, 
would be so far from being a happiness, that it 
would be a real misery; so that the determination 
of the apostle (1 Cor. xv. 19.) is according to na- 
ture, and the truth and reason of things, that, '* U in 
this life only we had hope, we were of all men most 
miserable." For although it be true, that, as things 
now stand, and as the nature of man is framed, good 
men do find a strange kind of inward pleasure and 
secret satisfaction of mind in the discharge of their 
duty, and doing what is virtuous ; yet every man 
that looks into himself and consults his own breast, 
will find that this delight and contentment springs 
chiefly from the hopes which men conceive, that a 
holy and virtuous life shall not be unrewarded : and 
without these hopes virtue is but a dead and empty 
name; aud notwithstanding the reasonableness of 



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548 

Tirtuout actioBS compared with the contrarj of 
them» yet when virtue came to be iDCumbered with 
difficulties^ and to be attended with such sufferiogs 
and inconyenieQctes,as were grievous add intolerable 
to human nature, then it would appear unreasonable 
to choose that for a happiness, which would rob a man 
of all the felicity of bis life. For though a maa 
were never so much in love with virtue for the na- 
tive beauty and comeliness of it ; yet it would 
strangely cool his affection to it, to consider that be 
should be undone by the match ; that when he had 
it, he must go a b^ging with it, and be in danger of 
death, for the sake of that which he had chosen for 
th« felicity of his life. So that, how devout soever 
the woman might be, yet I dare say she was not 
over-wise and considerate, who, going about with a 
pitcher of water iuooe hand* and a pan of coals in the 
other, and being asked what she intei^ded to do with 
them, answered, that she intended with the one to 
burn up heaven, and with the other to quench hell, 
that men might love God and virtue for- their own 
sakes, without hope ofneward offearoi'punishmenL 
And the consequence of this dry doctrine does 
sufficiently appear in the sect of theSadducees, which 
had its rise from this principle of Sadoc, the master 
of the sect, who, out of an indiscreet zeal to teach 
something above others, and indeed above the pitch 
of human nature, inculcated this doctrine upon his 
scholars — that religion and virtue ought to be loved 
for themselves, though there were no reward of 
Tirtue to be hoped, nor punishment of vice to be 
feared, in another world; from which his discir 
pies inferred, that it was not necessary to religion 
to believe a future state, and, in process of time, 
peremptorijy m^ntained, that there was no lifi^ 



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549 

after tiiis. For they did not only deny the resnrrec^ 
tion of the body, but, as St. Paul tells us, they said^ 
that ** there was neither angel nor spirit ;" that is, 
they denied that there was any thing of an immortal 
nature, that did remain after this life. And what 
the consequence of this was, we may see in the cha- 
racter which Josephus gives of that sect; for he 
tells, that the commonalty of the Jews were of the 
t9ect of the Pharisees, but most of the great and rich 
men were Saddocees ; which plainly shews, that this 
dry speculation, of loying religion and virtue for 
themselves, without any expectation of future re- 
wards, did end in their giving over all serious pur- 
suit of religion ; and, because they hoped for nothing 
after this life, therefore laying aside all other con- 
siderations, they applied themselves to the present 
business of this life, and grasped as much of the 
present enjoyments of its power and riches, as they 
could by any means attain to. 

And for a farther evidence of this, that it is only 
or principally the hopes of a future happiness that 
bear men up in the pursuit of virtue^ that give ihem 
so much comfort and satisfaction in the prosecution 
of it, and make men encounter the difficulties, and 
oppositions, and persecutions they meet withal in the 
ways of religion, with so much undanntedness and 
courage; I say, for the farther evidence of this, I 
shall only oflR^this consideration — that, according to 
the degree of this hope and assurance of another life, 
men's constancy and courage in the ways of virtue 
and religion have been. Before Christ's coming 
into the world, and the bringing of ^* life and immor- 
tality to light by the gospel," we do not find in alt 
ages of the world, so many instances of patience and 
constant suffering for religion, as happened in the 



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350. 

firat ag« after Christ God did not tbl«k fit to^ try 
the world so much m this kind, till they were fur-". 
Dished wHh a prindple wbieh would bear tbeoi up. 
Under the greatest sufferingg, which w^a DOthiBg 
else but the full assurance which the gospel gave the. 
wortd of a blessed immortality after this life; the, 
firtn belief and persuasiou of which, made Cbriat* 
ians dead to the world, and all the contenfeniedts, 
atid tojoyments of it, and by raisibg them above 
all the pleasures and terrors of sense, otiade thenfii 
to despise present things, '' in hopes <^ eternal ViS^t, 
which God that Could not lie had proaiised." This* 
was that which set them above thei fears (d deaths 
so that they werd not to be frightened Out of their 
religion by the most exquisite torments, and all the 
mc^ horrid and fearfui] shapes, that the u^alice of 
mtn and 'devils cduld dres» up misery and affliction; 
in. Whereas, under the old dispensation of the 
law, before the revelation of the gospel, wheft the 
promises of eternal life were not so clear, and men's 
ho^es of it more weak and faint, the express ea« 
Gouragement to obedience was founded in the pro-^ 
mises of temporal blessidgs ; GUkI hereie coil^plyiiig 
Urith the necessity of human nature which is no^ 
to be M^rdught upon to any great purpose, but by 
arguments of advantage. 

. The sum of this argument, which I have thus 
largely dilated upon, because I look upon it a^ oife 
of the most strong and convincing of the souVs \m^ 
mortality, is this ; that the justice of God*s provi? 
dence cannot sufficiently be vlndicatedy bat upon 
the supposal of this principle of die soAl's iramorta* 
lity : whereas, if this principle be admitted, that 
tnen pass out of this life into an eterhal state of hapr 
piiiess or misery, according as they have l^a^ed 



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351 

tfaem^lvti in this world ; then tht account of th4 
utiequdl protidenced of God in thki wofld is easy* 
For if we look upon this life ad a state of probatk>n# 
of trml to wicked oieD, and of exercise to good men, 
ifi order to a future and eternal state ; iad if we 
croi)$ider withlth how vast the differen^^e is between 
time and eternity ; it will be easy tke» to apprebcndi 
how all tbing^s may be set straight in another world, 
and how the righteousness of God may appear, 10 
giting an abundant recompence to good men for all 
thedr temporal serrice and suflSsringSy which do but 
prepare them tWiDore for aquicker reh'shof the glory 
and happiness which is reserved for them ; and, 00 
the other band^ in punishing wicked men, Whosd 
fihort ease and prosperity in this world will, by the 
jttSt judgtnenC of God fot their abiiee of tbe blessingiEl 
of this Hfe, set out their misery and torment to the 
greatest disadvantage. For, as nothing commends 
happiaess niore than preeedent sorrow ; so nothing 
loakes pain and sutfering more bitt^ and intolera'* 
ble, thatn to step into them out of a state of ease 
and pleasure ; so that the pleasures and prosperity 
of wicked men in this life, considered with the pn-* 
nishmeatof thenext, which will follow upon tbemi 
is an addition to their misery. This is the very 
sting of the second death ; and in, this sense also 
that of the wise man is true — " The ease of the sim- 
ple will slay them ;** and the prosperity of these fools 
shall be the great aggravation of their destruction. 

3. Another notion which is deeply rooted in tbe 
nature of man, is, that there is a difference between 
good and evil, which is not founded in the imagina-» 
tion of persons, or in the custom and usage of the 
world, but in the nature of things : that there ar^ 
Home things which have a natural evil, and turpi*' 



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552 

tade, and deformity in them ; for exaiople, impety 
mod profaneness towards God, injustice and un« 
righteousness towards men, perfidiousness, injury, 
ii^ratitude ; these are things that are not only con* 
demned by the positive laws and constitutions of 
particular nations and g^yernments, but by the ge- 
neral verdict and sentiments of humanity. Piety 
and religion towards God ; justice, and righteous- 
ness, and fidelity, and reverence of oaths ; r^^rd to 
a njan's word and promise ; and gratitude towards 
those who have obliged us; — these and the like qua- 
lities, which we call virtues, are not only well spoken 
of, where they are countenanced by the authority of 
law, but have the tacit approbation and veneration 
of mankind. And any man that thinks that these 
things are not naturally and in themselves good, but 
are inerely arbitrary, and depend upon the pleasure 
of authority, and the will of those who have the 
power of imposing laws upon others ; I say, any 
such person may easily be convinced of his error, by 
putting this supposition :-Hiuppose wickedness were 
established by a law, and the practice of fraud, and 
rapine, and perjury, falseness in a men's word - and 
promises, were commended and rewarded ; and it 
were made a crime for any man to be honest, to have 
any regard to his oath or promise ; and the man that 
should dare to be honest, or make good his word, 
should be severely punished, and made a public ex- 
ample ; I say, suppose the reverse of all that which 
we now call virtue were solemnly enacted by a law, 
and public authority should enjoin the practice of 
that which we call vice ; what would the conse- 
quence of this be, when the tables were thus turned? 
liVould that which we now call vice gain the esteem 
and reputation of virtue ; and those things^ which 



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555 

\re now call virtue, grow contemptible and become 
odious to humati nature? If not, then^ there is a na« 
taral and intrinmcal difference between good and 
evil, between yirtneand vice; there is something in 
the nature of these things which does not depend 
upon arbitrary constitution. And I think nothing 
can be more evident, than that the authority which 
should attempt such an establishment, woutd there* 
by be rendered ridiculous, and all laws of such a 
tendency as this would be hissed out of the world. 
And the reason of this is plain, because no govern-^ 
ment could subsist upon these terms : for the very 
forbidding men to be just and honest, the enjoining 
of fraud, and violence, and perjury, and breach of 
trust, would apparently destroy the end of govern- 
ment, which is to preserve men and their rights 
against the encroachments and inconveniences of 
these : and this end being destroyed, human socie- 
ty would presently disband, and men would na- 
turally fall into a state of war : which plainly shews 
that there is a natural, and immutable, and eternal 
reason for that which we call goodness and virtue; 
and against that which we call vice and wickedness. 

To come then to my purpose, it is very agreeable 
to this natural notion of the difference between good 
and evil, to believe the souls immortality. For no- 
thing is more reasonable to imagine, than that good 
and evil, as they are differenced in their nature, so 
they shall be in their rewards ; that it shall ope time 
or other be well to them that do well, ^nd evil to 
the wicked man. Now seeing this difference is not 
made in this world, but all things happen alike to 
all, the belief of this difference between good and 
evil, and the different rewards belonging to them, 
infers, another state after this life, vehich ifi the rery^ 

vox-, vii. 2 o 



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554 

thing we meao by the souVs immortality ; namely, 
that it does not die with the body, but remaina 
after it, and passetb into a state wherein it shall rer 
ceive a reward suitable to the actions of this life. 

And thus I have done with the second argument 
for the SQuVs immortality ; namely, that this princi- 
ple doth not contradict those other principles which 
nature hath planted in us, but doth very well accord 
and agree with those natural notions which we have 
of the goodness of God, and of the justice of his 
providence, and of the real and intrinsical differ- 
ence between good and evil. 

III. This principle, of the soul's immortality, is 
suitable to the natural hopes and fears of men. 

To the natural hopes of men. Whence is it that 
men are so desirous to purchase a lasting fame, and 
to perpetuate their memory to posterity, but that 
they hope that there is something belonging to them, 
which shall survive the fate of the body, and when 
that lies in the silent grave, shall be sensible of the ho- 
nour which is done to their memory, and shall enjoy 
the pleasure of the just and impartial fame, which 
shall speak of them to posterity without envy or 
flattery ? And this is a thing incident to the great- 
est and most generous spirits ; none so apt as they 
to feed themselves with these hopes of immortality. 
What was it made those great spirits among the 
Romans so freely to sacrifice their lives for the safe- 
ty of their country, but an ambition that then- 
names might live after them, and be mentioned with 
honour when they \rere dead and gone ? Which am- 
bition of theirs, had it not been grounded in the 
hopes of immortality, and a natural opinion of ano- 
ther life after this, in which they might enjoy the 
delight and satisfaction of the fame which they had 



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purchased, nothing conld faafe been more vain and 
unreasonable. If there were no hopes of a life beyond 
this, what is there in fame that should tempt any 
man to forego this present life, with all the content-* 
ments and enjoyments of it ? What is the pleasure 
of being well spoken of, wfa«n a man is not ? What 
is the happiness which men can promise to them- 
selves, when they are out of being, when they can 
ei\joy nothing, nor be sensible of any thing, because 
they are not? So that the spring of all those brave 
and gallant actions, which the heathens did with the 
hazard of their lives, out of a desire of after*fame 
and glory ; I say, the spring of all those actions, 
could be no other than the hopes of another life 
after tbis, in which they made account to enjoy the 
pleasure of the fame, which they purchased with 
the expense and loss of this present life. 

But tbis ardent desire and impatient thirst after 
fame, concerns but a few of mankind in comparison. 
I shall therefore instance in something which is more 
common and general to mankind, which plainly ar- 
gues this hope of immortality. What is the ground of 
that peace, and quiet, and satisfaction, which good 
men find in good and virtuous actions, but that they 
have a secret persuasion, and comfortable hopes, 
that they shall sometime or other be rewarded ? and 
we find that they maintain these even when they 
despair of any reward in this world. Now what do 
these hopes argue, but a secret belief pf a future 
state, and another life after this, wherein men shall 
receive the reward of their actions, and inherit the 
fruit of their doings? Whence is it else, that good 
men, .though they find that goodness suffers, and 
is persecuted in this world, and that the best de- 
signs are many times unsuccessful ; what is it that 

2 o 2 



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556 

beam them up undef thene disappointmentd/ and 
makes tbetn comtant in a virtuous courKe, bat 
this hope of anoth^ life, m a better state of Ching^ 
hereafter? They have some secret presage in their 
Oini minds of a life after death, which will be a time 
of reeotrt pence, as this is of trial. 

2. The sdme may be argued from the natural fears 
bt men. Whence is the secret shame, and fear, and 
horror, which sei^eth upon the minds of men, when 
they are about a wicked action j yea, though no eye 
see them, and though what they are doing do not 
fall under the cogni2ande of any human court or 
tribunal? Whence is it that they meet with such 
checks and rebukes in their own spirits, and feel 
such a disturbance and confusion in their minds, 
when they do a vile and unworthy thing; yea, al- 
though it be so secretly contrived and so privately 
managed, that no man can charge them with it, or 
call them to account for it ? What art thou afVaid 
of, mat), if there be no life after this ? Why do thy 
joints tremble, and thy knees knock together, if 
thou beest in no danger from any thing in this world, 
and hast no fears of the other? If men had not a 
natural dread of another world, and sad and dread^ 
ful presages of future vengeance, why do. not men 
sin with assurance when no eye sees them ? Why 
are not men secure, when they have only imagined 
a mischief privately in their own hearts, and no 
creature is privy and conscious to it ? Why do men*:) 
own consciences lash and sting them for these 
things, which they might do with as great impunity 
from men in this world, as the most virtuous ac- 
tions? Whence is it that cogitare^ peccare est^ as 
Mio. Felix expresseth it, et nan solum conscios /i- 
metf sed et Conscimtiam ? Whence is it that " a wicked 



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557 

mnn i» guilty upon ^couQt loarely pf hh tbou^ bU^ 
and 19 oot ooly fearful b^cauf e of those tbiipgs which 
others are conscious of, but because of those things 
which nobody knows but bis own consqiejice ?'^ 
Whence is it that^ 

Sceliu intra se taciturn qui cogitat uUum, 
Facti crimen habet f 

That '' he that does but devise and imagine secret 
mischief in his heart, is guilty to himself, as if the 
fact had been committed ?" And when no man can 
charge and accuse him for it, yet, 

Hocte dieque $uum gestat in pectore t€U$m : 

** He carries his accuser in his breast, who does 
night and day incessantly witness against him ?*" 

And that these fears are natural, the sudden rise 
of them is a good evidence. They do not proceed 
from deliberation, men do not reason themselves into 
these fears, but they spring up in men's mindfi they 
]cnow not how ; which shews that they are natural. 
Now, a man'd natural actions, I mean, such as sur- 
prise us, and do not proceed from deliberatioii, are 
better arguments of the intimate sense of pur minds» 
and do more truly discover the bottom of our 
hearts, and those notions that are implanted in our 
natures, than those actions which are governed by 
reason and discourse^ aod proceed from delibera- 
tion. To demonstrate this by an instance : if i^ 
man upon a sudden sight of a snake, do recoil and 
start back, tremble and grow pale ; this is a better 
argument of a natural antipathy and fear, than it i^ 
of a natural courage, if af1terward> when he h^tb 
commanded down his fear, he should by his rea- 



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556 

Bon persuade himself to take up tke snake into hi0 
band. If you would know what a marfs natural 
apprehensions are, take him on the sudden, and 
gire him no time to deliberate. Therefore, some 
cunning politicians have used this way of surprise 
and sudden qqestions, to diye into the hearts of 
men, and discover their secrets^ 

In like manner, if you would know what m^9 
natural apprehensions are concerning the immorta^ 
lityofthe soul, and a future state, observe what 
men^s first thoughts are, whether a inan's conscience 
does not suggest to him such fears upon the cofo? 
mission of sin. There is no doubt but men may offer 
violence to their natures, and reason themselves into 
great doubts about the soul's immortality ; nay, men 
may be bribed iptp the contrary opinion : but this 
man who, in his deliberatfs discourses, denies any 
reward after this lifp, shall, by bis natural act^pqs, 
acknowledge them, by those fears and terrors, 
which his guilty conscience is pyer and anon sur- 
prised withal. 

The sum of this argument is, thfU it is natural for 
men that live piously and virtuously, that do just, 
and honest, and worthy actions, to conceive good 
hopes that it shall some time or other be we|l witl^ 
them ; th^t however they may meet wjth no rewar4 
and recompence }n this world, yet *' verily there 
will be a reward for the righteous:^ and, on the 
other hand, wicked n^en^ though they flourish and 
prosper in their wickedness, yet they are not free 
from guilt, they are fearful and timorous, even when 
their copdition sets them above the fear of any man 
upon earth. Now, what does this signify, but that 
they have some secret presages of an after-punish- 
fpeht? Nature suggests this thought to them, tha| 



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559 

there wiH be a time when all the sins which tfiey 
ha?e committed, and the wickedness which they 
have done, shall be accounted for. 

And it is no prejudice to this truth, that some 
men sin against their consciences, and by frequent 
acts of sin, and offering notorious violence to their 
own light, bring themselves into a brawny and in- 
sensible condition, so that they have not those stings 
and lashes, are not haunted with those fears and 
terrors, which pursue common sinners. This is but 
reasonable to be expected, that men, by frequent 
acts of sin, should lose the tender sense which 
men's consciences naturally have of good and evil ; 
that men that lay waste their consciences by gross 
and notorious sins, should lose the sense of good 
and evil, and that their consciences should grow 
hard, like a beaten road ; nay, it is suitable to the 
justice of God, to give up such persons to a repro-^ 
bate sense, to an injudicious mind, that they, who 
would not be awakened and reclaimed by the na- 
tural fear of Divine justice, which God hath hid lo 
every man's conscience, should at last lose all sense 
and apprehension of these things, and be permitted 
securely and without remorse to perfect their own 
ruin. 

lY, This doctrine of the immortality of the soul, 
does evidently tend to the happiness and perfection 
of man, and to the good order and government of 
the world : to the happiness and perfection of man, 
both considered singly, and in society. 

I . To the happiness and perfection of man, con- 
sidered in his single capacity, if it be a thing desira- 
ble to be at all, then it is a thing desirable to be 
continued in being as Jong as may be, and for ever 
if it be possible. If life be a perfection, then eter- 



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54o 

•kai lifti ifl much more so ; especially if the ciFcurrt- 
ataoces of this present life be considered, together 
with the state which we hope for hereafter. The 
cooditioil of toep in this. present life, is attended 
with so many frailties, liable to so great miseries 
and sufferings, to so many pains and diseases, to 
such various causes of sorrow and trouble, of fear 
and- vexation, by reason of the many hazards and 
uncertainties, which not only the comforts and con* 
tentments of our lives, but even life itself, is liable 
to, that the pleasure and happiness of it is by these 
very much rebated : so that were not men trained 
on with the hopes of something better. hereafter, 
life itself would to many men be an insupportable 
burden: if men were not supported and borne up 
under the anxieties of this present life, witii tlie 
hopes and expectations of a happier state in ano- 
ther world, mankind would be the most imperfect 
and unhappy part of God's creation. For although 
other creatures be subjected to a great deal of va- 
nity and misery, yet they have this happiness — that 
as they are made for a short duratiou and continu- 
ance, so they are only affected with the present, 
they do not fret and discontent themselves about 
the future, they are not liable to be cheated with 
hopes, nor tormented with fears, nor vexed at dis- 
appointments, as the sons of men are. 

But if our souls be immortal, this makes abundant 
amends and compensation for the frailties of this 
life, and all the transitory sufferings and inconveni- 
ences of this present state ; human nature, consi- 
dered with this advantage, is infinitely above the 
brute beasts that perish. 

As for those torments and miseries which we are 
liable to in -another world, far greater than any 



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thing that men suffer in this life, this ought not, in 
reason, to be objected against the immortality of 
the sou}, as if this doctrine did not tend to the hap- 
piness and perfection of man : for if this be truly 
the case of mankind, that God hath made men's 
souls of an immortal nature, and designed them for 
a per|>etuat duration and continuance in another 
state after this life, in order to which state he hath 
placed every man in this world, to be, as it were, a 
candidate for eternity, he hath furnished every man 
with sucli helps and advantages, such opportunities 
and means for the attaining of everlasting imppinese, 
that if be be not grossly wanting to himself, he shall 
ziot miscarry ; if this be the case, then an immortal 
nature is a real and mighty privilege. If God puts 
every man into a capacity of happiness, and if no 
man becomes miserable but by his own choice, if no 
man falls short of eternal happiness but by his own 
fault, then immortality is a privilege in itself, and a 
cur^e to none but those who make it so to them, 
selves. 

2. This doctrine tends to the happiness of man 
considered in society, to the good order and govern* 
mentof the world. I do not deny, but if this prin* 
ciple of the immortality of the soul were not believed 
in tlie world, if the generality of mankind had no 
regard to any thing beyond this present life : 1 say, 
I do not deny, notwithstanding this, but there would 
be some kind of government kept up in the world ; 
the necessities of human nature, and the mischiefs 
of contention, would compel men to some kind of 
order: but I say withal, that if this principle were 
banished out of the world, government would want 
its most firm basis and foundation ; there would be 
infinitely more disorders in the world were men not 



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b6i 

restraioed from injustice and violence by principles 
of conscience, and the awe of another world. And 
that this is so, is evident from hence, that all magis- 
trates think themselves concerned to cherish reli* 
gion, and to maintain in the minds of men the belief 
' of a God, and of a future state. 

This is the fourth argument — that this doctrine 
does evidently tend to the happiness of man, and 
the good order and government of the world. I 
grant that this argument alone, and taken singly by 
itself, is far from enforcing and necessarily con- 
cluding the souFs immortality : but if the other ar- 
guments be of force to conclude, thi& added to them 
is a very proper inducement to persuade and incline 
men to the belief of this principle ; it does very well 
serve the purpose for which I bring it ; namely, to 
shew, that if there be good arguments for it| no man 
hath reason to be averse or backward to the belief 
of it ; if by other arguments we be convinced of the 
suitableness of this principle to reason, this con- 
sideration will satisfy us, that it is not against our 
interest to entertain it. And no man that is not re- 
solved to live wickedly, hath reason to desire that 
the contrary should be true. For what would a 
man gain by it, if the soul were nol immortal, but 
to level himself with the beasts that perish, and to 
put himself into a worse and more miserable coq- 
ditfon than any of the creatures below bim ? 



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SERMON CLXXV, 

or THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL, AS DISCOVERED 
BY JiTATURE AND BY REVELATION. 

Svt 15 now made manifeist by the appearing of our 
Saviour^ Jesus Christy who hath abolished deaths 
and hath brought life and immortality to light 
through the gospel. — 2 Tim. i. 10. 

The fifth aod last ai^ument is, That this supposi- 
tion of the souFs immortality, gives the fairest ac . 
i:ount and easiest solution of the phenomena of hu- 
man nature, of those several actions and operations 
>irhich we are conscious to ourselves of, and vrhich, 
\irithout great violence to our reason, cannot be re- 
solved into a bodily principle, and ^scribed to mere 
matter ; such are perception, memory, liberty, and 
the several acts of understanding and reason. These 
operations we find in ourselves, and we cannot ima- 
^ne bow they should be performed by mere mat- 
^r ; ther^forie we ought, in all reason, to resolve 
them into some principle of another nature from 
matter, that is, into something that is immaterial, 
^nd consequently immortal, that is incapable in its 
own nature of corruption and dissolution. 

And that the force of this argument may the bet- 
ter appear, I shall speak something of these dis- 
tinctly, and shew tha( none of these operations can 
be performed from mere matter. I begin with the 

1. First and lowest^ which is sensitive perception, 
which is nothing else but a consciousness to our- 
selves of ourown seniiations, aq apprehension of the 



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564 

impressions which are made upon ns ; and this la- 
cnlty is that which constitutes the difference be- 
tween sensitive, and insensitive creatures. A stone 
may have several impressions made upon it, as well 
as the living creature endowed with sense ; but with 
this difference, that whatever impressions are made 
upon a stone, by knockiug, cuttiug, or any other 
kind of motion or action, the stone is stupid, and in 
not in tlie least conscious of any of those impres- 
sions, does not perceive what is done to it ; whereas 
those creatures which are endowed with sense, do 
plainly perceive their own and other motions, they 
are affected with the impressions made upon them. 
Now we can give no account of this operation 
from mere matter. It is plain, that matter is not in 
its own nature sensible; for we find the greatest 
part of the world to consist of insensible parts, and 
such as have no perception* ]Vow if matter be 
granted in itself to be insensible, it is utterly unima- 
ginable, how any motion or configuration of the 
parts of it, should raise that which hath no sense to 
a faculty of perception. Epicurus fancied those 
particles of uoatter, of which souls were framed, to 
be the finest and smallest ; and for their smoother 
and easier motion, that they were all of a round 
figure. But supposing matter not to be naturally 
and of itself sensible, who can conceive what that 
is which should awaken the drowsy parts of it to a 
lively sense of the impressions made upon it? it is 
every whit as easy to imagine bow an instrument 
might be framed and tuned so artificially, as to hear 
it^ own sounds, and to be marvellously delighted 
with them ; or that a glass might be polished to 
ihat fineness, as to see all those objects which are 
reflected upon it. 



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5G5 

Bot there i$ one difficolty in this : for it may be 
said, if sensitive perception be an argament oC the 
soul's immateriality, and consequently immortaHty^ 
then the souls of beasts will be immortal as well as* 
the souls of men. For answer to this, I shall say' 
these things : 

(1.) That the most general and common philoso^ 
phy of the world hath always acknowledged some- 
thing in beasts besides their bodies, and that the 
faculty of sense and perception which is in them, is 
founded in a principle of a higher nature than mat- 
ter. And as this was always the common philosc^ 
phy of the world, so we find it to be a supposition 
of Scripture, which frequently attributes souls to 
beasts as well as to men, though of a much inferior 
nature. And therefore those particular philosophers, 
who have denied any immaterial principle, or asoul^ 
to beasts, have also denied them to have sense, any 
more than a clock, or watch, or any other engine ; 
and have imagined them to be nothing else but a 
finer and more complicated kind of engines, which, 
by reason of the curiosity and tenderness of their 
frame, are more easily susceptible of all kind of mo- 
tions and impressions from without, which impres- 
sions are the cause of all those actions that resemble 
those sensations which we men find in ourselves: 
which is to say, that birds, and beasts, and fishes, 
are nothing else but a more curious sort of puppets, 
which, by certain secret and hidden weights and 
springs, do move up and down, and counterfeit the ac- 
tions of life and sense. This, I confess, seems to me 
to be an odd kind of philosophy ; and it hath this 
vehement prejudice against it — that if this were true, 
every man would have great cause to question tfie 
reality of his own perceptions ; for to alj appearance 



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566 

the tensations of beasts are as real as oors^ and in 
many things their senses much more exquisite tha& 
ours; and if nothing can be a sufficient argument to 
a man, that he is really endowed with sense, beside* 
his own consciousness of it, then every man hath 
reason to doubt whether all men in the world be^ 
sides himself be not mere engines ; for no man hath 
any other evidence, that another man is really en- 
dowed with sense, than he hath that brute creature* 
are so ; for they appear to us to see, and hear, and 
feel, and smell, and taste things, as truly and as ex- 
actly as any man in the world does. 

(2.) Supposing beasts to have an immaterial prin- 
ciple distinct from their body, it will not from 
hence follow, that they are immortal, in the sense 
that we attribute immortality to men. For immorta- 
lity, when we ascribe it to men, signifies two things. 

1. That the soul remains after the body, and is 
not corrupted and dissolved together with it. 

2. That it lives in this separate state, and is sen- 
sible of happiness or misery. 

1. Immortality imports, that the soul remains after 
the body, and is not corrupted or dissolved to- 
gether with it. And there is no inconvenience in 
attributing this sort of immortality to the brute, 
creatures. And here it is not necessary for us, who 
know so little of the ways and works of God, and 
of the secrets of nature, to be able to give a par- 
ticular account what becomes of the souls of 
brute creatures after death : whether they retura 
into the soul and spirit of the world, if there be 
any such thing, as some fancy ; or whether they 
pass into the bodies of other animals which suc- 
ceed in their rooms : I say, this is not necessary 
to be particularly determined; it is sufficient to 



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567 

lay down this io general as highly probable^ that 
they are such a sort of spirits, which, as to their 
operation and life, do necessarily depend upon mat- 
ter, and require union with it; which union being 
dissolved, they lapse into an insensible condition, 
and a state of inactivity. For being endowed only 
with a sensitive principle, the operations of which 
do plainly depend upon an organical disposition of 
the body, when the body is dissolved all their acr 
tivity ceaseth ; and when this visible frame of the 
world shall be dissolved, and this scene of sensible 
things shall pass away, then it is not improbable 
that they shall be discharged out of being, and re- 
turn to their first nothing : for though in their own 
nature they would continue longer, yet, having served 
the end of their being, and done their work, it is not 
unsuitable to the same wisdom that made them, 
and commanded them into being, to let them sink 
into their first state* 

2. Immortality, as applied to the spirits of men, 
imports, that their souls are not only capable of 
continuing, but living in this separate state, so as 
to be sensible of happiness and misery. For the 
soul of man being of a higher nature, and not only 
endowed with a faculty of sense, but likewise other 
Acuities which have no necessary dependance upon, 
or connexion with, matter ; having a sense of God, 
and of Divine and spiritual things, and being ca- 
pable of happiness in the enjoyment of God, or of 
misery in a separation from him ; it is but reason- 
able to imagine, that the souls of men shall be ad- 
mitted to the exercise of these faculties, and the en- 
joyment of that life which they are capable of in a 
separate state. And this is that which constitutea 
that vast and wide difference between the souls of 



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56d 

mett and beatts : and this degree of immortality is 
as much above the other, as reasoa and religiaD are 
above sense. 

3. Another facnity in us, which argues ao tm- 
tnatenal, and consequently an immortal principle in 
man, is memory; and this likewise is commoo fn 
some degree to several of the brute creatures, and it 
seems^to be nothing else but a kind of continued 
sensation of things. And of this we can give no ao 
connt from mere' matter. For if that which we call 
the soul, were nothing else but, as Epicurus ima- 
gined, a little wild-fire, a company of small round 
particles of matter in perpetual motion, it being a 
fluid thing, it would be liable to a continual diV 
sipation of its parts, and the new parts that come, 
would be altogether strangers to the impressions 
made upon the old : so that, supposing the soul 
liable but to those changes which the grosser parts 
of our bodies, our flesh and blood, continually Qre 
liable to, by the evaporation aud spending of the 
old, and an accession of new matter ; (and if we 
suppose the soul to be fluid matter, that is, consist- 
ing of particles, which are by no kind of connexion 
linked to one another, it will in all probability be 
more easily dissipable than the grosser parts of the 
body ; and) if so, how is it imaginable that these 
new and foreign particles should retain any sense of 
the impressions made upon those which are gone 
many years ago ? 

4. Another faculty which I shall instance in, is 
tbe will of man, which is endowed with liberty and 
freedom, aud gives a man dominion over his own 
actions. Matter moves by necessary and certain 
laws, and cannot move if it be at rest, un}ess it be 
movfd by another ; and cannot rest, that is, can-^ 



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569 
not but moTe, if it be impelled by aoother. Wbeoce 
then are voluntary motions ? Whence is the avrc^ 
ovVfov, the arbitrary principle which we find in our- 
selves, the freedom of action to do or not to do this 
or that, which we are intimately conscious to our- 
selves of? Of all the operations of our minds, it is 
the hardest to give an account of liberty from mere 
matter. This Epicurus was sensible of, and ii^ 
finitely puzzled with it, as we may see by the ques- 
tion which Lucretius puts .* Unde e^t fuec^ inquam^ 
fatis avulsa voluntas ? *^ How comes the soul of man 
to have this peculiar privilege of freedom and 
liberty, above all other sorts of matter that are in 
the world? Whence is it, that when all things else 
move by a fatal necessity, the soul of man should 
be exempted from that slavery ?" He does indeed 
attempt to give an account of it from a motion of 
declination which is proper and peculiar to the par- 
ticles of the soul : but that is a more unintelligible 
riddle than liberty itself. The 

5. Fifth, and last operation I shall instance in, is 
that of reason and understanding. Not to mention 
the activity and nimbleness of our thoughts, in the 
abstracted notions of our minds, the multitude oi 
distinct ideas and notions which dwell together in 
our souls, Qone of which are accountable from mat- 
ter ; I shall only instance in two particulars. 

(1.) Those acts of reason and judgment whereby 
we overrule the reports of our senses, and correct 
the errors and deceptions of them. 

(2.) The contemplation of spiritual and Divine 
things. 

(1.) Those acts of reason and judgment whereby 
we overrule the reports and determinations cif 
sense. Our sense tells us, that things at a distance 

VOL. VII. 2 p 



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570 

are less, thaii our reaRon tells us they are really in 
themselves ; as, that the body of the sun is but about 
a foot diameter : but our reason informs us other- 
wise. Now what is the principle that controls our 
senses, and corrects the deception of them ? If the 
soul of man be mere matter, it can only judge of 
things according to the impressions which are made 
upon our senses : but we do judge otherwise, and 
see reason to do so many times. Therefore it mu^t 
be some higher principle, which judges of things 
not by the material impressions which they make 
upon our senses, but by other measures. And there- 
fore, to avoid this inconvenience, Epicurus was 
glad, to fly the absurdity, to affirm, that all things 
really are what they appear to us, and that in truth 
the sun is no bigger than it seems to be. 

(2.) The contemplation of things spiritual and 
Divine, is an argument that the soul is of a higher 
original than any thing that is material. To con- 
template the nature of God/ and the Divine excel- 
lences and perfections ; tha meditation of a future 
state, and6f the happiness of another world ; those 
breathiugs which good men feel in their souls after 
God, and theenjoyment of him — argue the spiritual 
nature of the soul. Hoc hahet argfimeiitum divinu 
talis stuB (saith Seneca) quod earn divina deleclant^ 
nee ut alienis interest sed suis: •* The soul of Wan 
hath this argument of its Divine original — that it is 
so strangely delighted^ so infinitely pleased and 
satisfied M'ith the contemplation of Divhie things, 
and is taken up with these thoqghts, as if they were 
its proper business and concernment." Those strong 
inolfnations and desires after immortality, and.the 
pleasure which good men find in the ibref houghts 
of the happiness which they hope to enter into, whea 



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571 

their souls shall quit these mansioos; the restless 
aspirings of our souls towards God, aud those 
blessed mansions where he dwells, and where the 
spirits of good men converse with him and one ano- 
ther; these signify our souls to be of a nobler ex- 
traction than the earth, that they are descended from 
above, and that heaven is their country; their 
thoughts are so much upon it, and they are so de* 
sirous to return to it, 

I shall conclude this argument, from the noble and 
excellent operations of our sotils, of which We are 
conscious to ourselves, with a passage of Tully to 
this purpose :—Animamm nulla in terris origo inve* 
niri potest : nihil enim est in animis mixtum atque 
cona-etum, ant quod ex terra natum atque fictum esse 
videatur. " The Souls of men have not their original 
from the earth, it is in vain to seek for it there: for 
there is nothing in the mind of man of a material 
mixture and composition, which we can imagine to 
be born or formed out of the tearth. For (says he) 
among material and earthly things there is nothing,'' 
Quod vim memorise, mentis^ cogitationis habeaty quod 
etprmtenla teneat^ et futura provideat, et complecti 
possit pr/Bsentia : " There is no earthly thing which 
hath the power of memory, of understanding, of 
thought, which retains things p^st, foresees and 
provides for things future, comprehends and consi- 
ders things present.^ Singularis est igitur qutedam 
iiatura atque vis animi^ sejuncta ah his usitatis notisque 
naturis; *' So that the nature and power of the soul 
are of a peculiar and singular kind, different from 
all those natures which we are acquainted with in 
this world." He concludes, Itaque quicquid est quod 
sentity quodsapitf quod vult^ quod viget^ coeleste et di- 
vinum est, oh eamque rem tBtemum sit necesse est : 

2 p 2 



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572 

^' Therefore, whaterer that is which is endowed with 
a power of perception, w4th wisdom, with liberty^ 
with so much vigour and activity as the soul of, 
man, is of heavenly and Divine original, and for that 
reason is necessarily immortal, and to continue for 
ever." 

Thus I have represented to you, as briefly and 
plainly as I could, those which I account the chief 
and strongest arguments of this great principle of re- 
ligion — the soul's immortality. Some of them are 
plain and obvious to every capacity; the rest, 
though they be above common capacities, yet were 
not to be neglected, because they may be useful 
to some, though not to all ; and as those who are 
more wise and knowing should have patience, whilst 
the most common and plainest things are spoken 
for the instruction of ordinary capacities, so those 
of lower capacities should be content that many 
things should be spoken which may be useful to 
others, though they be above their reach. 

To sum up then what hath been said from reason, 
for the proof of the soul's immortality. It is a natu* 
ral dictate and notion of our minds, universally en- 
tertained in all ages and places of the world, except- 
ing some very few persons and sects ; it doth not 
contradict any other principle that nature hath 
planted in us, but doth very well agree with those 
other notions which are most natural ; it is most 
suitable to the natural hopes and fears of men ; it 
evidently tends to the happiness and perfection of 
roan, and to the good order and government of the 
w.orid ; lastly, it gives the fieiirest account of the 
pheuomena of human nature, of those several ac^ 
tions and operations which we are conscious to our- 
selves of. 



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573 

. Now supposing the sod were immortal what 
greater rational evidence than this can we expect 
for it ? How can we without a revelation have more 
assurance of the things of this nature than these ar* 
guments give us, not taken singly, but as they con* 
cur together to make up an entire argument, and to 
give us sufficient evidence of this ? 

I do not say that these arguments do so necessa- 
rily conclude it, that there is an absolute impossi- 
bility the thing should be otherwise ; but so as to 
reader it sufficiently certain to a prudent and consi- 
derate man» and one that is willing to accept of 
reasonable evidence. For tbe generality of the 
papists do pertinaciously maintain this unreason- 
able principle — that there can be no certainty of any 
thing without infallibility: yet some of the viriser of 
them have thought better of it, and are pleased to 
state the business of certainty otherwise ; particu- 
larly Melchior Canus, one of the most learned of 
their writers, determines those things to be sufficient- 
ly certain, which no man can vnthout imprudence 
and obstinacy disbelieve : — Certa apud homines ea 
stmtf qu(S negari sine pervicacia et stullitia non pos- 
sunt : *' Men esteem those things certain, which 
no man that is not unreasonably obstinate and im- 
prudent can deny." And I think the arguments I 
have brought for the soul's immortality, are such, 
as no man, that is unprejudioed and hath a prudent 
regard to his own interest, can resist. 

Thus I have done with the first thing I propound- 
ed to do for the proof of the souFs immortality; 
which was to shew, what evidence of reason there 
is for it. I shall speak briefly to the 

Second thing I propounded, which was to shew 
how little can be said against it, because this will 



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574 

indirectly give a strength and force to the argtitnenttf 
I ha?e brought for it. For it is very considerable iii 
any question or controversy, what strength there 
is in the arguments on both sides: for, though very 
plausible arguments may be brought for a thing, 
yet, if others as plausible and specious may be ui^ed 
against it, this leaves the thing in iPquilibrio^ it 
sets the balance even, and inclines the judgment 
neither way ; nay, if the objections against a thing 
be considerable, though not so strong as the argu- 
ments for it, the considerableness of the objections 
does so far weaken the contrary arguments: but 
where the argun[ientk on one hand are strong, and 
the objections on the contrary very slight, and such 
as may easily be answered, thfe weakness of the 
objectionil) contributes to the strength of the argu- 
ments for the other side of the question. 

To cbme then to' the business^, I know but three 
objections wliich* have any colour against this prin- 
ciple. 

1. That the notion of a spirit, or an immaterial 
substance, does imply a contradiction. 

Aiiswer 1. — This is only boldly said, and not the 
least colour of proof offered for it by the author 
that asserts it. This objection had indeed been 
considerable, if it had been made out as clearly as 
it is confidently affirmed. In the mean time, 1 think 
we may take leave to deny, that the notion of a 
spirit hath anyrepugnaiicy in it, till somebody think 
fit to prove it. • ' 

2. J told you that this question, about the souVs 
immortality, suppbseth the existence of God to be 
already proved ; and if there be a God, and it be 
an essential property of the Divine nature, that he 
is a spirit, then there is such a thing as a spirit and 



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575 

immaterial substance; and consequently, the notien 
of a spirit hath no contradiction in it : for if it had^ 
there could be no such thing. 

II. It is said, there is no express texts for the 
soul's imnaortality in the Old Testament. 

Answer* — ^This doth not properly belong to the 
intrinsical arguments and reason of the thing, but is 
matter of revelation. And this I shall fully speak 
to, when I come to shew what evidence the Jews 
had for the souls immoriality. In the mean time^ 
this may be a sufficient answer to this objection — that 
there is no absolute necessity why it should be ex- 
pressly revealed in the Old Testament, if it be, as 
I have shewn, a natural notion of our minds: for 
the Scripture supposeth us to be men, and to have 
an antecedent notion of those truths which are 
implanted in our nature, and therefore chiefly de- 
signs to teach us the way to that eternal happiness 
which we have a natural notioa and hope of. The 

III. Third objection is from fhenear and intimate 
sympathy which is between the soul and the body, 
which appears in the vigour and strength of our fa* 
culties; as understanding and memory do very 
much depend upon the temper and disposition of the 
body, and do usually decay and decline with it. 

Answer. — ^The utmost that this objection signi- 
fies, is, that there is an intimate union and con- 
junction between the soul and the body, which is 
the cause of the sympathy which we find to be be- 
tween them : but it does by no means prove, that 
they are one and the same essence. Now, that there 
is such an intimate union and connexion between 
the soul and matter in all creatures endowed with 
life and sense, is acknowledged by all who affirm the 
immateriality of souls ; though the manner of this 



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576 

UDion be altogether unknown to iis : and sopposing 
such an union, it is but reasonable to imagine that 
there should be such a sympathy, that the body 
would be affected with the delights and disturb- 
ances of the mind, and that the soul should also 
take part in the pleasures and pains of the body, 
that by this means it may be effectually excited and 
stirred up to provide for the supply of our bodily 
wants and necessities ; and from this sympathy, it 
is easy to give account how it comes to pass, that our 
faculties of understanding, and memory, and ima* 
ginatiou, are more or less vigorous, according to the 
good or bad temper and disposition of our bodies. 
For, by the same reason that the mind may be grieved 
and afflicted at the pains and sufferings of the body, 
it may likewise be disordered and weakened in its 
operations by the distempers of the body. So that 
this objection only proves the soul to be united to 
the body ; but not to be the same thing with it. 



END OF VOL. VII. 



J. 7. Dots, Piiziter, St. JoWt Square. 

7(97 C7I 



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